Mitt Romney Leads Republican Pack, but One-Quarter of Republicans Not Sure Who Their Primary Pick Would Be

NEW YORK , N.Y. – May 23, 2011 – The 2012 Republican primary field is an ever changing and fluid one. The first primary is less than ten months away and there is clearly still no front-runner. Some who could have claimed that mantle, such as Mike Huckabee, have made the decision to not move forward with a run this year. Others who were grabbing a lot of the spotlight thanks to media attention, such as Donald Trump, also have decided not to run. Among Republicans, Mitt Romney is the front runner right now with 14% of his party saying they would vote for him in the primary followed by Mike Huckabee (12%) and Newt Gingrich (10%). Even among Republicans, no other candidate garners over 8% of the vote and one-quarter (23%) are not at all sure.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,184 adults surveyed online between May 9 and 16, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Three in ten Conservatives (29%) are also not at all sure who they would vote for, while Romney and Huckabee each get 12% of the Conservative vote. No other potential Republican candidate gets above 9%. Among Independents, a different person leads the pack – Ron Paul garners 10% of Independents’ votes in the GOP primary followed by Mitt Romney (9%); two in four Independents (39%) are not at all sure who they would vote for in the Republican primary. Among those who support the Tea Party, 12% would vote for Mitt Romney and 11% for Mike Huckabee while 22% are not at all sure.

On the flip side, there are certain possible Republican candidates who people would never vote for in a primary. It may be a good thing he decided not to run as two in four Republicans say they would never vote for Donald Trump (39%). Three in ten Republicans would never vote for Sarah Palin, while almost one-quarter (22%) would never vote for Ron Paul. Just under one in five Republicans say they would never vote for Michele Bachmann (18%), Newt Gingrich (18%) and Jon Huntsman (17%). Among Independents, three in five say they would never vote for Sarah Palin (60%) and Donald Trump (59%), while two in five would never vote for Newt Gingrich (40%).

Republicans versus President Obama

Looking at possible Republican candidates, two do well against President Obama but only one possible Republican candidate would beat the President right now. In a head to head match up, 51% of Americans would vote for Rudy Giuliani while 49% would vote to re-elect President Obama. Mitt Romney is on the other side of those numbers as 49% would vote for the former Massachusetts governor while 51% would vote to re-elect the President. Among other declared or potential Republican candidates, Ron Paul does next best (45% vs. 55% for the President), then Newt Gingrich (44% vs. 56%), Mitch Daniels (43% vs. 57%), Gary Johnson (43% vs. 57%), and Rick Santorum (43% vs. 57%). Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin would each get 42% of the vote and Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman and Donald Trump would each get 41%.

So What?

Almost half of Americans say they are not likely to vote to re-elect President Obama if the election were held today. However, it is clear that among his possible challengers, there is clearly no one candidate who is ahead of the others. While voters may be slightly disenchanted with the President right now, if at least a few Republicans fail to pull ahead of the pack soon, there may not be enough time for them to make the case why they are the better candidate for next November. At least the media is done with the Donald and his potential run.

 

 

TABLE 1

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION

If you were voting in the Republican primary election and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?

Base: All adults

 

Total March 2011

Total May 2011

Party ID

Philosophy

Tea Party Support

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Mitt Romney

10

10

14

9

9

12

10

6

12

Mike Huckabee

8

8

12

4

8

12

6

4

11

Rudy Giuliani

8

8

7

7

8

4

9

8

7

Donald Trump

10

7

8

6

8

7

7

7

7

Ron Paul

NA

6

4

7

10

6

5

9

7

Sarah Palin

7

5

8

4

3

7

3

4

7

Newt Gingrich

5

4

10

1

3

9

2

1

9

Herman Cain

NA

2

3

1

3

5

 

2

5

Mitch Daniels

2

2

5

1

2

3

2

2

5

Tim Pawlenty

2

2

2

1

3

3

2

1

4

Michele Bachmann

2

2

2

1

1

3

1

2

3

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

NA

1

1

1

1

 

1

3

1

Gary Johnson

NA

1

 

1

2

 

1

1

1

Rick Santorum

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

Not at all sure

45

42

23

56

39

29

49

48

22

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than .05%; NA indicates it was not asked in that poll.


TABLE 2A

2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE OR PRESIDENT OBAMA

Looking at the list below, assuming each person listed is the Republican nominee running against President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, who would you vote for?

Base: All adults

 

Would vote for

President Obama

The Republican nominee

%

%

Donald Trump

59

41

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

59

41

Herman Cain

59

41

Sarah Palin

58

42

Tim Pawlenty

58

42

Michele Bachmann

58

42

Rick Santorum

57

43

Gary Johnson

57

43

Mitch Daniels

57

43

Newt Gingrich

56

44

Ron Paul

55

45

Mike Huckabee

52

48

Mitt Romney

51

49

Rudy Giuliani

49

51

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


TABLE 2B

2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE OR PRESIDENT OBAMA

Looking at the list below, assuming each person listed is the Republican nominee running against President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, who would you vote for?

Summary of those who would vote for the Republican nominee

Base: All adults

 

Total March 2011

Total May 2011

Party ID

Philosophy

Tea Party Support

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Rudy Giuliani

51

51

86

19

54

81

45

15

86

Mitt Romney

49

49

87

16

52

82

42

9

85

Mike Huckabee

48

48

87

15

49

80

40

14

85

Ron Paul

NA

45

78

14

49

78

36

10

79

Newt Gingrich

44

44

82

11

45

77

34

12

81

Mitch Daniels

44

43

78

11

45

74

34

12

81

Gary Johnson

NA

43

78

11

44

76

32

12

78

Rick Santorum

43

43

78

12

43

75

33

10

79

Michele Bachmann

41

42

78

10

43

75

32

12

78

Tim Pawlenty

44

42

78

12

42

76

32

10

77

Sarah Palin

42

42

78

13

38

77

30

11

76

Herman Cain

NA

41

78

11

40

75

31

10

77

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

NA

41

77

11

41

74

32

9

76

Donald Trump

45

41

72

15

39

69

32

13

73

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; NA indicates it was not asked in that poll.

 

TABLE 3

NEVER VOTE FOR

Assuming these were candidates in the 2012 presidential election, who would you never vote for?

Base: All adults

 

Total May 2011

Party ID

Philosophy

Tea Party Support

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Donald Trump

58

39

74

59

49

59

74

40

Sarah Palin

57

30

78

60

32

64

82

28

Newt Gingrich

41

18

61

40

22

43

68

23

Michele Bachmann

34

18

52

31

18

37

58

20

Ron Paul

31

22

43

26

20

32

48

21

Rick Santorum

27

15

42

24

16

26

52

16

Herman Cain

26

16

37

25

18

26

42

19

Rudy Giuliani

26

13

35

26

19

22

47

17

Mike Huckabee

25

9

42

21

10

27

49

12

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

25

17

34

21

17

24

41

20

Gary Johnson

25

16

36

21

17

25

40

19

Tim Pawlenty

24

12

38

19

13

25

43

15

Mitch Daniels

24

14

34

21

15

24

40

17

Mitt Romney

23

9

38

19

11

24

43

12

Note: Multiple responses accepted

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 9 to 16, 2011 among 2,184 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.

J40013

Q1225, 1226, 1228

The Harris Poll® #61, May 23, 2011

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