joins other polls in noting that conservatives and tea party types don't want any part of Mitt Romney ... and neither do independents:
This growing skepticism about Romney’s conservatism is most pronounced among Tea Party Republicans. Among Republican and Republican-leaning voters who agree with the Tea Party, just 29% say Romney is a strong conservative, down from 51% three months ago. Fully 68% of Tea Party Republicans say Romney is not a strong conservative.
Fewer Republican voters today think Romney has been consistent as well. By a 48% to 39% margin, more Republicans say Romney does not take consistent positions on the issues. In November, 47% felt he was consistent and just 33% said he was not.
And as to the general election, Romney is in a much worse position than he was:
Barack Obama now holds an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney in a general election matchup, and he has gained significant ground among independent voters. A month ago, 40% of independents said they would back Obama over Romney – today 51% say they would, while the number expressing support for Romney has slipped from 50% to 42%.
Over the course of the campaign, Romney’s image among independent voters has suffered substantially. Most notably, the number who believe he is honest and trustworthy has fallen from 53% to 41%, while the number who say he is not has risen from 32% to 45%.
Obama holds a 10 point lead over Santorum in the general, and look at the indies:
Independent voters favor Barack Obama over Rick Santorum by a 54% to 40% margin, and favor Obama over Gingrich by a wide 58% to 34% margin.
The GOP, by running hard right, is proving the old adage that those who might be competitive in the general can't even win a Republican primary. In fact, this may be one of those rara avis primaries where everyone loses.
But keep running on social issues, fellas. Don't change a thing. You're doing just fine.