Poll: Nearly half of Americans can’t name a single GOP presidential candidate

posted at 3:25 pm on October 7, 2011 by Tina Korbe

First, folks couldn’t identify the meaning of the acronym “GOP.” Now, they can’t name a single GOP presidential candidate. Forty-seven percent of those polled in a recent Pew Research Center survey couldn’t identify one Republican competitor for the GOP nomination. Twenty-eight percent could name Rick Perry, 27 percent could name Mitt Romney and 15 percent could name Michele Bachmann. All of the other candidates drew only single-digit name recognition. That’s not necessarily surprising. After all, I’m not sure why registered Democrats would follow the Republican primaries closely enough to be able to name all the candidates. But, at the same time, you’d think people would pick up the frontrunners’ names just by osmosis or something. Don’t they have TVs? Watch the news? Read this website???

Republicans were slightly more plugged into their own primaries than the American people at large: “Sixty-six percent of Republican and Republican leaning voters could name a candidate,” Political Ticker reports. “Perry and Romney had the highest name recognition, each with 36 percent of respondents identifying them as candidates.”

But don’t despair: I once judged a scholarship competition for high school girls in which fewer than five of the competitors knew who Joe Biden was. In other words, a lack of interest afflicts both sides.

In all seriousness, though, this points to the primary problem for a candidate like Herman Cain. Never underestimate likability — but recognize that, before voters can like a candidate, they have to know his name. All the more motivation for Cain’s campaign — and the GOP at large — to resist the urge to rest on recent laurels (in Cain’s case, his surge in the polls; in the GOP’s case, 2010) and work tirelessly to publicize candidacies. For that matter, it’s also a lesson for Romney, who’s been around so long you’d think he’d enjoy higher name recognition than he does. He’s been vetted and he’s been endorsed by key players — but does he continue to reach out to voters with all the energy and enthusiasm of a new candidate? It seems safe to say a candidate can never engage in too much voter outreach. Keep plugging away, people!


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Generic Republican doesn’t count?

steebo77 on October 7, 2011 at 3:26 PM

the same 1/2 who thinks Pearl Harbor is just a movie.

Limerick on October 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

At least some of their names are easy.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

First, folks couldn’t identify the meaning of the acronym “GOP.”

But how many could identify a well-known acronym that describes the competence level of the President of the United States?

Cicero43 on October 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

These people vote, against you.

Go gulching.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Look, I’m ashamed to say their names also.

faraway on October 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Generic Republican doesn’t count?

steebo77 on October 7, 2011 at 3:26 PM

A good chunk of Americans don’t know the meaning of the word “generic”.

Unfortunately, way too many of those people know the meaning of the word “vote”.

JohnGalt23 on October 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

But there is that rock out in Texas…

Seven Percent Solution on October 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Not gonna believe this poll. Half of America is brain dead and only watches dancing, food channels, or oprah? Never watch the news? Never read a magazine or newspaper? Can half name who bho is? If not people we are in major major trouble!
L

letget on October 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

And we only get to cancel out one of these morons. Actually, thanks to ACORN et al, we only get to cancel out a fraction of one of them.

Chickyraptor on October 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

In all seriousness, though, this points to the primary problem for a candidate like Herman Cain. Never underestimate likability — but recognize that, before voters can like a candidate, they have to know his name.

Not to be confused with John McCain, of course. Maybe the Godfather needs to change his name.

Steve Z on October 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Second look at Perry? No one knows he’s a moron. Yet!

lorien1973 on October 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

And THAT is the only reason why elections are ever won by liberals, and they know it. They think we’re stupid, because 1/2 are, and that’s all they need to steal an election.

kirkill on October 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Pleased to meeeeetchooooo, have you guessed my name….oh yeaaaahhh…

Bishop on October 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

So what…nearly half of Americans probably can’t find the United States on a map…

PatriotRider on October 7, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I don’t have a lot of faith in Pew polls myself..but the truth is most people don’t pay much attention to all this stuff this early.

Terrye on October 7, 2011 at 3:35 PM

On top of that, I doubt NPR, or the Home Shopping Network ever mentions any of them.

kirkill on October 7, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I don’t have a lot of faith in Pew polls myself..but the truth is most people don’t pay much attention to all this stuff this early.

Terrye on October 7, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Or ever.

kirkill on October 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

But don’t despair: I once judged a scholarship competition for high school girls in which fewer than five of the competitors knew who Joe Biden was. In other words, a lack of interest afflicts both sides.

Here’s the deep, insightful political analysis HA is famous for.

DarkCurrent on October 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

We really are in trouble. And at a perfect opportunity, too. Thanks, Sarah Palin…thanks a lot.

JetBoy on October 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I guess that bodes well for Perry. Assuming he can get past the primaries where most folks have heard of him and ain’t impressed thus far.

Doughboy on October 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I thought Cain was in the Godfather’s movie. Now I feel used.

faraway on October 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

But don’t despair: I once judged a scholarship competition for high school girls in which fewer than five of the competitors knew who Joe Biden was. In other words, a lack of interest afflicts both sides.

..and Joltin’ Joe doesn’t know who Van Jones is either Tina!

The War Planner on October 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Thats why I have been saying for a while now that the US as we have known is ultimately a lost cause.We are getting awfully close to reaching 51% of a population that basically is drooling on themselves.

jsunrise on October 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

That is strange..Bet they would have known Sarah Palin!?!..:)

Dire Straits on October 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Is that the same half that doesn’t pay taxes and is on guberment assistance?

Too busy watching game shows and Cartoon Network most likely.

Hening on October 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

letget @ 3:31

And it’s not going to get any better. When I walk the halls of my expensive private school and see all the glassy eyed, mouth breathers staring at their phones, I get positively depressed. No deprived kids here. These are the children of the “elite.”

teacherman on October 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Need I remind y’all of Sheila Jackson Lee’s comments regarding Mars? Or the Congressional dude worrying about Guam tipping over?

a capella on October 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Ignorance is no defense.

derft on October 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Poll: Nearly half of Americans can’t name a single GOP presidential candidate

Well, to be fair, that’s a very tricky question. The answer is Gary Johnson. However, he’s (a) a widower and (b) engaged to remarry, so you could argue that even he doesn’t really count as “single.”

Fabozz on October 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Nearly half of Americans can’t name a single GOP presidential candidate

Guess what? Most don’t really pay attention 13 months before an election.

And they’ve been really turned off since Barry started campaigning for re-election the day after he was sworn into office.

GarandFan on October 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

That’s OK Tina…

… Eric Holder doesn’t know about ‘Fast and Furious’ either.

/

Seven Percent Solution on October 7, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Half of all Americans probably couldn’t name the sitting VPOTUS.

You know, what’s-his-name.

(Remember the video of Steven Crowder at UC Berkey?)

listens2glenn on October 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

And we’re told the GOP should run a candidate who will appeal to the middle – the people who, if they vote at all, will decide the day before the election based on who had the most memorable TV ad?

katiejane on October 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

This is what I’ve contended all along, and why the general election polls are irrelevant.

Obama can be “winning” by twenty points. If his approval rating is 41 or 42, he’s actually losing by at least seven or eight.

The only thing that matters is how Obama polls, not how his contenders poll. The only candidate who will matter will be known well enough in twelve months.

HitNRun on October 7, 2011 at 3:48 PM

At this rate, the Republican candidate will be named “Anybody But Obama”.

jnelchef on October 7, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Here’s the deep, insightful political analysis HA is famous for.

DarkCurrent on October 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

If you didn’t forget your /sarc tage, then start your own blog…

… Some of us like Tina.

Seven Percent Solution on October 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

If those polled are anything like the occupy crowd, I understand.

jbh45 on October 7, 2011 at 3:51 PM

listens2glenn on October 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I guess it would have helped to include a LINK.

listens2glenn on October 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

This is actually WONDERFUL news. Half of Americans can’t name a single GOP candidate, yet those same candidates are neck and neck with Obama.

Just imagine the electoral slaughter it’s going to be once these people have a name to hang their hat on.

ButterflyDragon on October 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

So let’s be sure not to inflame all these well informed voters with outrageous comments like “Lazy people wind up poor.”

pedestrian on October 7, 2011 at 3:56 PM

the same 1/2 who thinks Pearl Harbor is just a movie.

Limerick on October 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

The Nazi’s bombing Pearl Bailey…now what’d she do to deserve that?

coldwarrior on October 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

If you didn’t forget your /sarc tage, then start your own blog…

… Some of us like Tina.

Seven Percent Solution on October 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

No, it wasn’t sarcasm. Why would you think so?

DarkCurrent on October 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

If you didn’t forget your /sarc tage, then start your own blog…

… Some of us like Tina.

Seven Percent Solution on October 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Give him a break. He is suffering from withdrawal from all the “Is She or Isn’t She?” posts.

pedestrian on October 7, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Who did they pull? Obama supporters? 90% of them I’m guessing, from what I witnessed this last election, couldn’t say exactly what hope and change would be. They assumed Obama was going to gas up their cars, pay their mortages, and their bills. They assumed all of his empty promises would come true, as if he had a wand in his hand.

This is America today. Dim, dumb, and self absorbed.

capejasmine on October 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM

pull should be poll! LOL

Yep! I’m dim and dumb. I don’t see myself as self absorbed, but I have my moments I’m sure. LOL

capejasmine on October 7, 2011 at 4:00 PM

just another brick in the wall pointing to Obama’s re-election. why people want to put up no named gopers against Obama and think boring will win the day is beyond me.

tip boring is just boring. there is no silver lining to boring, boring gets you no attention, no ability to get your message out and no fundraising. Boring gets you boring unelectable candidates.

unseen on October 7, 2011 at 4:01 PM

The problem is the pollsters inserted the term “presidential” between “GOP” and “candidate.”

Second look at Gen. Eric?

Christien on October 7, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Newsflash: half of Americans oblivious at ALL times. In fact, the number is low.

Just look at the “occupiers”, and some of those are in college, supposedly, or graduated.

Heck, look at your president and vice-president.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM

“Name a general”

“General Electric”

This is nothing new. They’re too busy sucking the producers dry and/or watching Dancing with the stars and American Idol.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Be grateful that voting is not mandatory in the U.S.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2011 at 4:09 PM

This is the result of the dumbing down of America (74% of Los Angeles residents in one survey didn’t know where the Pacific Ocean is-think how they’d respond if asked to explain the binomial theorum)-created in large part by a paternalistic government and unionized teachers (who probably also don’t know where the Pacific Ocean is-but have ‘collective bargaining’ down to a “t”.)

Because of this, despite the fact that America is going to the proverbial “hell in a hand basket”, the re-election of Obama is still a possibility.

MaiDee on October 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Can half name who bho is? If not people we are in major major trouble!
letget on October 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Who’s BHO?

g2825m on October 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM

We really are in trouble. And at a perfect opportunity, too. Thanks, Sarah Palin…thanks a lot.

JetBoy on October 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Keep pulling the pedals off the daisy.

I love her,
I love her not,
I love her,
I love her not.

portlandon on October 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM

50% of Americans do not pay taxes, can’t name the Consitution as our basis of laws, don’t know who the sec of State is, and probably can’t name Biden as the VP.

90% of the 50% are most likely Obama supporters. Easily led off the cliff.

Kuffar on October 7, 2011 at 4:15 PM

How many of those polled know what the ‘D.C.’ in Washington, D.C. means?

slickwillie2001 on October 7, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Forty-seven percent of those polled in a recent Pew Research Center survey couldn’t identify one Republican competitor for the GOP nomination.

Which means this is still a wide open race no matter who declares the field is set or who the “frontrunners” are. It’s amazing to watch the same process wherein “the next in line” is established so early repeats every cycle and we collectively wonder, “Gee, how did we end up with this guy as our best?”

Americans have become dangerously lackadaisical WRT elected officers and it should shock the conscience that even presidential interest is so low; however, we work with the system we have and not the one we wish we had. So, knowing our system is loaded with ignorance, let’s not discount the lesser names who have been written off already because it’s stylish to go with the “leader” established months and even years ago. Fight for the best candidate that represents the truest Constitutional Republican (who should be conservative) and worry about “electability” later. It’s apparent that most of the electorate that “decides elections” won’t be tuning in for a looong time.

AnonymousDrivel on October 7, 2011 at 4:29 PM

THE BEER TEST: A helpful guide for Palinistas trying to decide among the current GOP field.

Mutnodjmet on October 7, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Does it matter? People will be voting FOR or AGAINST Obama. The name next to Obama as the option is almost irrelevant.

angryed on October 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

THE BEER TEST: A helpful guide for Palinistas trying to decide among the current GOP field.

Mutnodjmet on October 7, 2011 at 4:30 PM

LOL. Thank you for that. I needed the chuckle.

Huntsman: Pint of Everclear.

Bwaa haa haa.

portlandon on October 7, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Just as long as we get these guys to get out to vote in Oct 2012…errr….yeah, Oct 2012 ;o)

g2825m on October 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM

@DarkCurrent: You understood I was saying that tongue-in-cheek, right?

@SevenPercentSolution: Thanks! I like some of y’all, too. ;) Actually, I’m a bit like Jane from Pride and Prejudice — “a great deal too apt to like people in general.” I have the feeling if I could meet all of you in person, I’d be thrilled to have countless new friends!

Tina Korbe on October 7, 2011 at 4:57 PM

I’m a bit like Jane from Pride and Prejudice — “a great deal too apt to like people in general.” I have the feeling if I could meet all of you in person, I’d be thrilled to have countless new friends!

Tina Korbe on October 7, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Oh, Tina has to drag one of the wife’s favorite’s out…P&P…I guess we men have to suffer through those so that they will put up with our “Expendables”…haha ;o)

Count me in the “circle of friendship”

g2825m on October 7, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Feel the excitement!!!

ddrintn on October 7, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Well one way to look at it..There is a lot of potential voters out there..:)

Dire Straits on October 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Those are the idiots that brought us Barry. Imagine , we have to fight both those idiots and the moronic wing of the GOP to get Barry out of office.

bayview on October 7, 2011 at 5:50 PM

-No wonder in some polls Obama leads named Repubs.
-I suspect what this in fact means is that once people start paying attention the polls that are good for Obama will flip.

Feel the excitement!!!

ddrintn on October 7, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Well we as sure as hell did not need the type of excitement your goddess would have brought.

/

Oh I forgot. LOL.

CW on October 7, 2011 at 5:56 PM

How many of those polled know what the ‘D.C.’ in Washington, D.C. means?

Don it mean Duh Capitol…?

Kuffar on October 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Don it mean Duh Capitol…?

Kuffar on October 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Debit Card

CW on October 7, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Nearly half of Americans can’t name a single GOP presidential candidate

Some days when I realize how outnumbered I am I wish I was clueless too.

peacenprosperity on October 7, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Or…15-20% of these people could be like me when it comes to polling or surveys….I lie or give nonsensical responses. If I’m a Democrat, what’s the best thing I can do when asked a question like this? Do I say Paul or Huntsman is my pick? No, of course not. I say – “Wow, I can’t think of any. Can you give a few to choose from?” Then again, most Democrats aren’t nearly bright enough to figure that ploy out…so never mind.

ScottiesRule on October 7, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Part of me wishes I was one of those 50%.

V-rod on October 8, 2011 at 12:04 AM

The half they polled was home not paying taxes, therefore able to answer the phone.

TimBuk3 on October 8, 2011 at 12:49 AM

One point that seems to be overlooked is the circular firing squad that is the bulk of the GOP contenders doesn’t generate much interest outside their limited circle. Plus most of what they accomplish is losing a couple votes for every shot they take at a fellow GOP Candidate. As a group and individually, they rarely, if ever, focus much energy on Obama, who they need to learn how to take on.

Much of what they talk about is WONKish or gotcha stuff that inspires no one. Can anyone name anything that any of them stand for outside of Cain’s 999 plan? Nope — yes they’ve got their 57 point plans — like big woop. Marketability with simple stuff Bubba can latch onto — again, outside of Cain’s 999, the group as a whole is a big 000. They’ve got stuff, but they can’t stay on focus long enough to market what they stand for… Hence, no one knows what they stand for… Go figure that half the folks can’t name one of them….

drfredc on October 8, 2011 at 1:52 AM

So. They polled the OWS “protesters”?

J.E. Dyer on October 8, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Fact is a lot of normal people aren’t paying much attention yet, because the election is still a year away.

kg598301 on October 8, 2011 at 5:28 PM