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Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 12/8-12. Registered voters. MoE ±3.1% (12/1-4 results):

Q: Do you think Mitt Romney would defeat Barack Obama if he was the Republican Presidential candidate next year?
Romney electability by party
Q:Do you think Newt Gingrich would defeat Barack Obama if he was the Republican Presidential candidate next year?
Gingrich electability by party
It's interesting to see that less than a third of American voters think either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich will beat Barack Obama next year—much lower numbers than you'll see if you ask a traditional head-to-head question. But what's most striking are the breakdowns by party ID. While Democrats seem to feel good about the president's chances no matter who he faces, they're more worried about Romney, to the tune of 14 points.

Republicans, however, feel very differently—both in terms of whether they can actually beat Obama, and in terms of who is best able to do so. Sixty percent of Democrats say Romney wouldn't beat the president, while only 48 percent of Republicans say he would. The two parties are even more divided about Gingrich, with 70 percent of Democrats saying he'd lose while 54 percent of Republicans think he'd win.

It's that final number that really stands out to me. The perceived electability gap among Republicans between Romney and Gingrich is a net eight points in Gingrich's favor. That's certainly smaller than Romney's 14-point edge among Democrats, but it's still notable. If Republicans think Gingrich is better positioned to beat Obama, then it only fits that they prefer him as their nominee, as almost every recent poll has shown.

And for once, Democrats and Republicans agree, in the results if not the rationale: They think Gingrich is more beatable, so undoubtedly they'd rather see him as the GOP nominee as well. It may just happen that both parties will get their wish.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's an interesting poll (12+ / 0-)

    and it shows how differently we think.  I suspect that part of this is not a well reasoned response onthe part of the Republicans polled, but rather a reflection of what they are yearning for in their standard bearer.  In Gingrich's case, I think his more favorable numbers can be attributed to his combativeness and the perception that he won't shy away from "going ugly", or at least pressing a strong offense.

    Let's face it...the same inclination can be found on our side.  There is a fairly wide swath of Democratic voters who hunger as well for someone who is willing to take the gloves off, or perhaps wear brass knuckles under his or her gloves.  People like a scrapper, all the talk about being an adult and willing to compromise aside.

    "By your late thirties the ground has begun to grow hard. It grows harder and harder until the day that it admits you.” Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

    by Keith930 on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:23:56 AM PST

    •  I would add...the more insecure people feel (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, TomP, Egalitare, Bailey2001

      about their own economic circumstances, the more likely they are to gravitate to the candidate who isn't afraid to break some china.

      "By your late thirties the ground has begun to grow hard. It grows harder and harder until the day that it admits you.” Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

      by Keith930 on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:25:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very good observation (4+ / 0-)

      And I agree. Gingrich satisfies a yearning in the GOP soul that Romney simply does not.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:39:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or ... maybe there's something there for everyone. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Personally, I thought it was Herman who captured the Republican zeitgeist best.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:03:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are plenty among us who would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      prefer to nominate Alan Grayson over Barack Obama. I doubt Grayson could carry any of the swing states.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:39:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe they are Overestimating his Stature (0+ / 0-)

      Gingrich is overall the most knowledgeable and well spoken of the candidates, plus he once held the lofty position of Speaker of the House. The Republicans who support him are willing to overlook his multitude of scandals and seem to think that the rest of the country will as well. They also don't seem to have a clue how some of his current statements like firing janitors and having poor kids do the job instead repulses the 70% of the electorate that are not them.

      If Gingrich manages to get the nomination it will be because the Republican base has so completely lost touch with the rest of America that they no longer have any ability to evaluate a candidate's actual attractiveness to people outside their circle. The Tea Party has managed to that repeated at the state level, so maybe they are about to do the same at the national level.

  •  We all know that GOPers will love Newt even more (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plubius, Fury, drmah, Egalitare

    if Dems think Romney is OK

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:33:08 AM PST

  •  Inaugaration Day, Jan. 9, 2013..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If it's Newt.......

    Impeachment Hearings, Jan. 10, 2013.....

    Newt is a PROVEN crook like Nixon AND a PROVEN adulter like Clinton......

    Too much baggage..!!!   I think the majority of conservatives with blind hatred of President Obama and the Democrats will eventually come to their senses about this joker...!!!!

  •  Interesting that majority of Indies don't see Mitt (10+ / 0-)

    beating Obama

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:34:20 AM PST

  •  Please, oh please, oh please (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, PittsburghPete, Supavash

    let it be Newt!

    They've taken the Kool Aid!!!

  •  Obama's numbers drop (0+ / 0-)

    Job approval goes from 47-48 to 42-52.  Favorable goes from 49-46 to 46-49.

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:39:53 AM PST

    •  Last two weeks have been odd (0+ / 0-)

      I dont think the daily tracking polls saw the surge that PPP saw for the previous week, nor the drop in the current week.

    •  I'm sure he's being "faulted"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...for being more partisan in recent weeks. As the GOP race gets even more heated, Gingrich and Romney will take similar hits as well.

      Occupy Wall Street AND K Street!!!!

      by Egalitare on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:41:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I always look too see if Demographics shift (0+ / 0-)

      when I see a poll jitter like that.

      The 12/1 demo was 52% Women : 48% Men, proportion from south was 30%. That's shifted to an even W:M of 50:50 and 33% southern in the current.

      Account for the demographic inconsistency then move to other assignable causes?

      Rick Perry executed a man ... just to watch him die

      by ItsSimpleSimon on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 11:28:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very interesting. I suspect that (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, drmah, Supavash, Egalitare, TexasTom

    the exact mirror image phenomenon would manifest if, say, Evan Bayh and Alan Grayson were vying for the Democratic nomination (not a perfect parallel, but you get the point). Republicans would fear the centrist more, while Democrats would fantasize about a strong champion of our values who will inflict pain upon the opponent.

    With every goddess a let down, every idol a bring down, it gets you down / but the search for perfection, your own predilection, goes on and on and on. . .

    by cardinal on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:40:06 AM PST

    •  Totally agree w/your take Cardinal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  I disagree with that mirror image scenario (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The angrier, more liberal protest candidate has lost every Democratic primary held after 1972, usually in favor of a safer, more centrist candidate.  Gary Hart, Ted Kennedy, Jerry Brown, Bill Bradley, Howard Dean and John Edwards all lost -- and a big part of their loss was usually Democratic handwringing about electability (all the sex and vehicular manslaughter scandals probably didn't help).  Democrats then went on to lose most of these elections anyway, in such a way that it's unclear how much better the protest candidate would have done.

      Ironically, general election polls during the 2008 primaries showed that Hillary had the race sown up in late winter against McCain, winning every swing state by double digits, while the public still wasn't sold on Obama yet.  This is the one post-McGovern example where the Democratic base cast aside concerns about electability, only to help elect an ultimately safe, centrist president who went on to infuriate the liberal base with conservative acquiescence and compromise.

      So in the case of the 2012 GOP primary, my conclusion is that the Republican base is uniquely delusional about how their preferred candidates would fare in a general election.  They project their desires and beliefs onto the broader electorate during primaries, nominate whomever panders to more to their insane fringe, and let the chips fall where they may.  Let's just hope the stock market doesn't tank three weeks before the election if Gingrich is the guy.

  •  I looked at the numbers for independents (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, eztempo, Supavash, asm121, Egalitare, skibum59

    as a proxy for favorable / unfavorable impressions of the candidate.

    Romney leads Gingrich with independents.

    It appears that the Republican echo chamber is about to lead them to nominate a short fat old white guy because they think he has a stunning intellect.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:40:42 AM PST

  •  The 30% that say the Republican will win (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, Supavash

    are the same diehard Republicans wingnuts that will always answer in favor of anything that has a whiff of GOP.  They'll tell you a ham sandwich will beat Obama as long as it's anti-choice.

    But the figures for those who think the GOP candidate can't beat Obama are telling.  Mitt (45) / Newt (50) - well, very few of those pollees are wingnuts (they all answered 'yes' to this question), so the numbers are much more credible.  And the difference in those figures is actually pretty large.

    This informs me that I want Newt to be the NOM-inee even more than I thought.

    Teddy had the Square Deal. FDR had the New Deal. Obama's got the BFD.

    by thenekkidtruth on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:43:10 AM PST

    •  I do not want Newt and here's why: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Even if there is the least or least chances...even .0001% of him actually winning.....what a nightmare prospect of epic proportions!!  Newt is a dangerous man!

      At least Romney will gravitate to the center as soon as the voting is over.  He will not stay right, it is all just talk to get elected.  He is a moderate. So if he least I won't have to kill myself....not at first anyway.

  •  Republicans have no ability to assess electability (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sja, Sue B, Fury, happymisanthropy, Daman09

    They nominate jokers like Christine O'Donnell, Sharon Angle and Ken Buck.  I'm surprised that considering the Republican party consists mostly of the elderly, they dont remember how deeply unpopular and horrible Newt is.    Then again a short memory may cause their stupidity in conveniently forgetting Bush caused our economic crisis.

    Take care of all humanity as if they were your brothers and sisters.

    by skidrow on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:44:29 AM PST

  •  This reveals a lot about our cultures (0+ / 0-)

    Dem politicians: Typically flip floppers who run populist then pursue money until election year when they say anything to get your vote.

    Rep politicians: Fearful scumbags who, like Klingons, appreciate brute force and "red meat" no matter how hypocritical and will use it earnestly to win, because winning is everything.

    In other words, the parties think the kind of candidate they normally end up with is more electable.

  •  Summing up Obama vs Gingrich: (7+ / 0-)

    "While Obama is a smart person, Newt Gingrich is a dumb person's idea of a smart person." Andrew Sullivan in The Daily Beast.

    I'm in Georgia so the Republicans I have to deal with every day are the Real Deal Crazies.  Every one of them thinks Obama is an empty suit who has to read off a teleprompter, and that Gingrich will annihilate him in a debate.  They almost literally foam at the mouth over Obama, they hate him so.  And what really frustrates them is that they can't admit why they really hate him.  At least we've come that far in Georgia.

    Of course haters are going to gravitate to the Hater in Chief.

  •  I still think on Republican Primary Ballot"None of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, needtovent

    the above" could beat both Newt or Mitt.

  •  Really, what would you expect them to say? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "We think they guy we aren't going to have is the more electable."

    They have to stir up excitement for the one they've got.

    There are three types of Republicans: evil ones, brainwashed ones and former ones.

    by pucklady on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 09:53:20 AM PST

  •  going out on a limb here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Victor, Supavash, Fury, needtovent

    Barring some major shake up, neither Romney nor Gingrich is electable in a race against Obama.  They are both hugely flawed candidates.  IMO Romney had a much better shot prior to the primary campaign where he shifted his stance on issues every 5 minutes.

    This election went from being the GOP's to lose, to being Obama's to lose in a huge hurry.  But it's a long way to November.

  •  Silent majority syndrome (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans believe that there's a lot of true blue conservatives sitting on their hands waiting for the next Ronnie. They think every other Republican President they've had over the last 40 years has been a RINO progressive in disguise. That's the backstory on their aversion to Romney and why they get so angry at the notion that he was inevitable.

  •  I wonder to what extent this reflects (0+ / 0-)

    people repeating what they get from media.

    The ultimate question voters answer is who do you vote for, not who do you think will win.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:00:56 AM PST

  •  I guess what that means is that WE still somehow (0+ / 0-)

    believe that candidates do better when they are more like statesmen and less like pro wrestling.  

    And THEY believe the opposite.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:04:49 AM PST

  •  Simple Explanation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, Egalitare

    Newt gives them the Palin high minus the red heels but more high falutin words

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:13:49 AM PST

  •  It's the swing states, stupid! (0+ / 0-)

    The overall percentage spread between Obama & Newt/Mittis unimportant -  you have to look at the state by state races in the electoral college.

    And the President clearly has problems there.  Gallup came out with polling in the past couple of days.  

    In 2008, the President won these 12 swing states (Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina & Florida).  At that time, the Democrats had an 11% advantage in party indentification in those states.  Today, they enjoy a 2% advantage and that number continues to deteriorate.  

    In 2008, the Democrats were clearly more enthusiastic about the election.  Today, Republicans poll as more enthusiastic by 14 points (61 - 47).  The most enthusiastic groups in the swing states - conservatives, middle aged white men & the general age group 50-64.  All of whom tend to vote Republican.  The least enthusiastic groups - minorities and young voters.  Both of whom tend to vote Democratic.

    Unless something huge happens (e.g. Gingrich wins the nomination & Ron Paul runs as a 3rd party candidate) things are looking grim for the President.

    I could very easily see a situation where Mitt/Newt win the electoral college while eking out a popular vote victory, or even a repeat of 2000 where the President loses the electoral college and wins the popular vote.

    •  Gallup Poll (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, forgot to include a link.

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      also, someone had a diary on that Gallup poll which is a deeply flawed. You can't have a collective poll on 12 swing states in one poll because it matters about about the electoral college. He could be losing bad in two of them but doing okay in the rest to give him the majority. He doesn't even need a majority of the swing states actually. He only needs like half.

      Romney would be stronger but he is not that impressive. If it's Newt Gingrich, its all over. The conservatives know it. That's why Michael Savage tried to bribe him to drop out. I don't know who you're trying to fool here. I'm not saying we should just expect a cakewalk but it's not some "grim" situation like how some in the media are trying to make it out as.

    •  Poll has already been addressed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As well as the pollster.  Both are suspect.  Particularly since they have Obama ahead nationally, 3 and 6 points.  A six point win = well over 300 electoral votes.  A 3 point win is at least a 95% probability of an electoral college win.

      “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

      by Paleo on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:48:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm in a Swing State... Colorado... Newt won't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      win here.

      I'm very confident he couldn't. I suspect most political operatives are confident as well.

      Now when you're talking party ID advantage... think about which wing of Democrats is expressing the most disappointment with President Obama. Is it moderates? In my perception, no.  It's liberals. I think there's a good chance that they're the ones shirking their Democratic identification to say they're independent.

      Especially consider how (reasonably) disappointed the fastest-growing Democratic voting bloc - Latinos - are with the party as a whole. I think a lot of Latinos are beginning to call themselves independent, which is causing Democrats to appear to lose to Republicans in party ID, while in reality the votes are not going to go to Republicans.

      At this point, I'm not too worried about party ID.

  •  Most Americans hate Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    That's the defining feature of our politics at present.  

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 10:52:27 AM PST

  •  Double consciousness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't think off a better example of the divided state of US political consciousness than these numbers. These polls reveal how dramatically different Democrats and Republicans see the political landscape. All of the qualities that make Romney electable for Democrats are not the qualities of leadership Republicans believe to be acceptable. And Gingrich's qualities go w/o saying are not what Democrats believe a serious electorate would find credible. Democrats and Republicans live in two different moral and attitudinal worlds. Any representative who says he is a "uniter" and can bring the parties together is either naive, confused or lying. You might as well "unite" Morlocks and Surface Dwellers. Two completely different perceptions of reality trapped within one material context

    "I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living." Harvey Milk

    by Sansouci on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 11:15:35 AM PST

    •  OMG I took 10 minutes writing this unwieldy long (0+ / 0-)

      comment about ideology and perception, and then look up... you said it in a single two-word phrase, which I hadn't thought of.

      Double consciousness. I should have read yours before I wrote mine.

    •  Yes exactly (0+ / 0-)

      Just like anyone has their own personal view of politics in their own universe.  If you hang out with Progressive people, go to school/work with Progressive people, are married to a Progressive, live in a blue state....stands to reason you think everyone everywhere thinks like see a "majority" everyday.

        In the same way, a conservative in a world of baggers, thinks the same.  

  •  This is the BEST POSSIBLE NEWS (0+ / 0-)

    the one thing I hoped would happen (but wasn't sure if it was possible) in order for the GOP to nominate an unelectable candidate.

    People tend to say "electability" is not important to their vote - other things like values and policy matter more - because it's hard for people to admit to themselves that a candidate who is perfectly in line with their own views couldn't win. It feels like (in the short term at least)  giving up on the possibility that your political perspective could ever succeed.

    But I think that people would still rather their party win elections, so if the unelectability of a candidate stares them stark in the face, they'll find ways of rationalizing that the candidate was actually flawed for other reasons.

    So, in order for a party to nominate someone that is unpalatable to the general population - someone like Newt Gingrich - there has to be an ideological or cultural disconnect between that party and the rest of the population.

    And the GOP has been moving in that direction for a while.

    Individuals tend to be aware of how they differ from everybody else in the room, but our cultures and ideologies can be powerful enough that they actually alter our perceptions themselves - academics have long been talking about how our culture is like a "lens" we view the world through; think about how people are confident they back up racist or sexist views with observations, when in reality their observations were colored by pre-existing sexism and racism.

    Ideology doesn't just alter where we draw moral lines in light of information - it alters what we think the facts are in the first place.

    Right now, apparently the GOP "culture" is in such a completely different place from the country as a whole  that they think everybody else sees Newt Gingrich completely differently from how everybody else sees Newt Gingrich.

    This is awesome for Democrats when it comes to the electoral map. On the other hand, it might be a little bit sad for the country as a whole, since consensus is out of reach now.

  •  I'm not even concerned... (0+ / 0-)

    I know Obama will be reelected. I'm much more concerned about a divided congress. It's not lookin' good for our side.

  •  The Republicans are totally delusional (0+ / 0-)

    So they will campaign throughout 2012 like crazies which will get them not one additional vote but will only serve to anger and scare Democrats and Independents into supporting Obama even more.  

  •  "to the tune of 14 points" (0+ / 0-)

    Can someone explain this to me? Is this 14 obtained by subtracting the dems who say No to each beating Obama, which is 10, then adding the difference of Yes to beating Obama, which is 4?

  •  How did monkeys with pencils poll? (0+ / 0-)

    My guess:

    Mitt can win -

    No 98%
    Yes 1%
    Lost the pencil 1%

    Newt can win -

    No 100%
    Yes 0%
    Undecided 0%

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Tue Dec 13, 2011 at 06:12:27 PM PST

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