CBS/New York Times Poll
According to the poll, conducted by telephone from February 8-13, 57 percent of Republican voters nationwide say a drawn-out nomination battle - and the associated attacks on a candidate - would hurt the nominee's chances in 2012.
Thirty-five percent say a long nomination contest would make the Republican candidate more tested and prepared for the general election; subsequently, they say, a long nominating contest would help the nominee.
It's been our impression that the more we see of the Republican primary field, the less we like them.
Apparently, that's an opinion shared by all. From CBS:
Republican primary voters remain dissatisfied with their candidates: 62 percent say they want more choices while 34 percent say they are happy with the field. Sixty percent of GOP primary voters who have picked a candidate say they could still change their mind, while 39 percent say they have settled on a candidate.
Not only that, but their favorables have taken a hit, at least from the better known candidates (Rick Santorum is only now getting the scrutiny and the negative ads):
Romney, meanwhile, is solidly in negative territory: While 26 percent of registered voters view him favorably, 40 percent view him unfavorably. Gingrich's favorability numbers are even worse: Just 16 percent view him favorably, while 54 percent view him unfavorably.
Add in Romney's loss with independents (he was up 8, he's now down to Obama by 9, a 17-point swing), and you get a picture of a party getting more into trouble the longer this primary season goes on. That's what happens when bad candidates slug it out in full view of a dumbfounded public.
Note: Margin of Error +/- 3, possibly higher in subgroups.