President Obama Leads Mitt Romney by 8 points and Rick Santorum by 10 points

NEW YORK , N.Y. – March 23, 2012 – As the Republican primaries continue, the drumbeat is sounding louder and louder for those not in the lead to concede to Mitt Romney. One main reason is so the focus can turn to the general election in the fall as the four remaining Republicans are currently losing to President Obama by between 8 and 19 points.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,451 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 19, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

As the race narrows down to the final candidate who will face President Obama in November, just half of Americans (52%) say they are satisfied with the choices available to them for President while more than two in five (43%) are not satisfied. Just over half of Republicans (52%) are satisfied and 45% are not satisfied while Independents are reversed as 52% are not satisfied with the candidates and 41% are. Two-thirds of Democrats (66%), however, say they are satisfied with the choices available to them for President.

Head to head match-ups

If the presidential election were held today, 47% of Americans would vote for President Obama, 39% would vote for Mitt Romney and 14% are not at all sure. Last month, 46% said they would vote for President Obama while 37% said they would vote for Mitt Romney. Among Independents, it’s a closer race with 43% voting for the President and 41% voting for the former governor and 48% of adults in the 2012 Swing States (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia) voting for President Obama and 41% voting for Mitt Romney.

He may be jockeying for front-runner status but the former Senator from Pennsylvania is ten points behind the President. Almost half of Americans would vote for President Obama (48%) while 38% would vote for Rick Santorum and 15% are not at all sure. Among Independents, 45% would vote for President Obama and 36% for Santorum with 19% not at all sure. In the 2012 Swing states, 51% would vote for the President while 35% would vote for Santorum.

Looking at the other two main contenders in the Republican primary, over one-third (36%) would vote for Ron Paul and 45% would vote for President Obama while 19% are not at all sure. Among Independents, Paul is ahead 40% to the President’s 39%. Finally, half of Americans (50%) would vote for President Obama and three in ten (31%) for Newt Gingrich with 18% not at all sure. Among Independents, President Obama leads Newt Gingrich 50% to 30% with 20% not at all sure and among people in the 2012 Swing states President Obama leads Newt Gingrich 52% to 31% with 17% not at all sure.

Consequences of the Republican primary

As the Republican primary continues, what does this do to Republican chances in the fall? Half of Americans (50%) say the current Republican primary has hurt Republican chances of winning the presidential election while 19% say it has helped. And, it is not just the presidential election as two in five U.S. adults (40%) believe the primary has hurt Republican chances of winning Congressional elections and 19% believe it has helped. There is also the national political dialogue and almost half (46%) say the Republican primary has hurt that while 16% say it has helped it.

Republicans are less pessimistic than Democrats or Independents on their chances in the fall. While 70% of Democrats and 51% of Independents say the primary has hurt Republican chances of winning the presidential election, only one-third of Republicans (32%) feel that way. Looking at the congressional elections, two-thirds of Democrats (66%) and almost half of Independents (46%) say the primary has hurt the Republican chances of winning these elections come November compared to one-quarter of Republicans (27%) who think so.

So What?

As the Republican race continues, there will eventually be a winner. But, for now, the winner of the Republican primary appears to be the Democrat – President Obama. In the fall, it was a tight race between the President and Mitt Romney. Now, the President has an 8 point lead. The longer the primary continues the more damage it appears to be doing to the eventual Republican nominee. But, looking back 4 years, the Democratic primary was still being contested into April and the victor there was the victor in November as well.

 

 

 

TABLE 1

ROMNEY VS. OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

March

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

41

41

43

43

46

47

Mitt Romney

40

41

40

39

37

39

Not at all sure

18

18

17

19

17

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 


 

TABLE 2

ROMNEY VS. OBAMA – By Party and Political Philosophy

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total

2012 Swing state

Party ID

Political Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

47

41

8

83

43

14

53

80

Mitt Romney

39

48

82

8

41

68

34

9

Not at all sure

14

10

10

9

17

17

14

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

TABLE 3

GINGRICH VS OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Dec

Total

Jan

Total

Feb

Total

March

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Political Philosophy

Rep

Dem

Ind

Cons

Mod

Lib

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

45

45

50

50

52

12

84

50

18

58

80

Newt Gingrich

38

36

33

31

31

68

7

30

63

23

7

Not at all sure

17

19

18

18

17

19

9

20

19

19

13

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

 

TABLE 4

PAUL VS. OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total Oct

Total Nov

Total

Jan

Total

Feb

Total

March

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Political Philosophy

Rep

Dem

Ind

Cons

Mod

Lib

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

41

40

42

45

45

48

10

82

39

15

51

75

Ron Paul

36

38

38

37

36

35

66

11

40

61

30

13

Not at all sure

23

21

20

18

19

16

24

8

21

23

19

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia


 

TABLE 5

SANTORUM VS. OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Jan

Total

Feb

Total

March

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

45

47

48

51

9

84

45

15

54

80

Rick Santorum

36

35

38

35

79

10

36

70

30

8

Not at all sure

19

18

15

14

13

6

19

14

16

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

TABLE 6

SATISFACTION WITH CANDIDATE CHOICES

How satisfied are you with the choices available to you for President?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Feb

Total

March

Tea

Party Supporter

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep

Dem

Ind

Cons

Mod

Lib

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

SATISFIED (NET)

51

52

53

52

52

66

41

51

48

64

Very Satisfied

19

20

15

21

13

34

13

16

16

36

Somewhat satisfied

32

32

38

31

39

32

29

35

32

29

NOT SATISFIED (NET)

44

43

45

44

45

32

52

43

47

32

Not very satisfied

28

26

28

29

29

20

31

28

29

17

Not at all satisfied

16

17

17

15

16

12

21

16

18

15

Not at all sure

5

5

2

4

3

2

6

5

5

4

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 


 

TABLE 7

CONSEQUENCES OF THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

How much do you think the current Republican primary has helped or hurt each of the following?

Base: All adults

 

HELPED (NET)

Significantly helped

Somewhat helped

Neither helped nor hurt

HURT (NET)

Somewhat hurt

Significantly hurt

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Republican chances of winning the presidential election

19

6

13

20

50

24

26

10

Republican chances of winning Congressional elections

19

5

13

30

40

23

17

12

The national political dialogue

16

5

11

26

46

22

25

11

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding;

 

 

 

TABLE 8

CONSEQUENCES OF THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

How much do you think the current Republican primary has helped or hurt each of the following?

Percent saying Significantly/Somewhat hurt

Base: All adults

 

HURT

Political Party

Political Philosophy

2012 Swing State

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Republican chances of winning the presidential election

50

32

70

51

35

52

70

47

Republican chances of winning Congressional elections

40

27

66

46

31

48

67

44

The national political dialogue

46

22

60

37

26

41

60

36

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 12 and 19, 2012 among 2,451 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J41216

Q1245, 1246, 1247, 1249, 1250

 

 

The Harris Poll ® #32, March 23, 2012

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.