Poll: Voters are increasingly dissatisfied with the GOP field

posted at 7:45 pm on January 30, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Which came first: The oft-repeated media talking point that GOPers are dissatisfied with the GOP field or GOPers’ actual dissatisfaction? It’s hard to know. Either way, by this point in the primary, the discontent is real, insofar as it is a sentiment overwhelmingly picked up by a recent Pew poll.

Republicans evaluating the field of potential GOP presidential nominees are increasingly negative about the current slate of candidates, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

Fifty-two percent of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters said the GOP field was “fair or poor,” an eight percentage-point increase since the question was asked in early January.

Likewise, the number of Republicans who had positive feelings about the candidates dropped. Forty-six percent rated the current field of four candidates “excellent or good,” a drop from the 51% who had that response in January. The GOP field has undergone substantial change since then, with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropping out of the contest.

Monday’s poll from Pew, which was conducted in partnership with the Washington Post, is the first time since this election cycle the negative response from voters outweighed the positive. Pew began asking the question in May 2011.

At least three factors are at work here. In the first place, the candidates themselves — Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich especially — have overtly and repeatedly turned their negativity on each other since early January. In the second, the most recent debates have been the most abominable of all in terms of the quality of the moderation and the general way in which they were calculated to make the Republican candidates appear disconnected with the problems of average Americans and concentrated on far-fetched  schemes (like self-deportation or a moon colony). In the third, conservative media, too, has actively engaged in the vetting process, dredging up every last conceivable objection to the GOP Final Four. The most obvious example of that is Matt Drudge’s decision to post a wave-making series of anti-Gingrich links (which I felt compelled to cover, too).

The high level of dissatisfaction is not necessarily a negative, though. It’s a sign that GOP voters are paying attention and really, really care to beat Obama. The sheer undesirability of his reelection gives the entire primary a note of adrenaline that’s hard to bear up under and can lead to feelings of exhaustion and despair, but that also makes the still-remaining candidates sharper. It’s also a sign that the race is far from over — and, as I wrote this morning, that Rick Santorum still has a chance. At most, he’s received just one serious look from voters, whereas Romney and Gingrich have been treated to two or three or four.

We have a long primary fight ahead — but, as The Wall Street Journal’s Jerry Seib wrote today, it won’t knock out the GOP. When we reach the other side of the primaries, my prediction is that GOP voters will be very satisfied with the discipline, grit and determination the eventual GOP nominee developed over the course of this long slog.


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Sure. That’s why he’s been running for President for 7 years, and can’t get more than 30% of the GOP as a whole to support him?

portlandon on January 30, 2012 at 7:50 PM

When Romney gets over 40% tomorrow, will you bump that statistic up? When Romney gets 70% of the vote in VA, will you bump it up even more?

haner on January 30, 2012 at 9:00 PM

250 million

“Behind every great fortune is a great crime”

liberal4life on January 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Deep thought!

KOOLAID2 on January 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

And, it is possible, that the ows riots will backfire. Nixon benefited from Chicago….I’m just not sure our country has the same spine

r keller on January 30, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Thanks, didn’t know that about Chicago 1968…I was only 8.

So if we can avert a complete collapse with the “reactionary right” (read Realist) shooting all the bastiges in the OWS “we want our Rights” riots, then maybe the GOP nominee will win?

Sorry, just asking questions.

With the extreme power of the Presidential Executive (already seriously abused in My Opinion) no way it evolves into even a RINO pres-elect.

It DE-volves into the PC-word equivalent of Martial Law and the status quo, or even the currently extant regime continues.

(need thicker tinfoil…shopping while still can)

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Did anyone just watch Bill O’Reilly totally humiliate Rick Santorum just now?

Disgusting.

JPeterman on January 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I am sick of that blow hard. I remember him bragging time and time again that Barry and Michal Moore would not dare to come onto his show and that he’ll tear them to pieces if they did. When they showed up, he was groveling on his knees. He is a tough guy in his own mind.

Shut up and stick to sexually harassing your female employee. Call her up and talk dirty on the phone. It will be ok as long as you have the money to pay the settlement to hush things up.

galtani on January 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Hmmm…19 tweets and ~50 posts….Twitter seems to be replacing Blogs.

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Which came first: The oft-repeated media talking point that GOPers are dissatisfied with the GOP field or GOPers’ actual dissatisfaction?

Tina, you summed up the Basic Theorem of MSM Strategy, to wit:
“Which came first: The oft-repeated media talking point that X or the actual belief that X?”
As in,
“Which came first: The oft-repeated media talking point that conservatives are dumb & racist, or the actual belief that they are?”
Or,
“Which came first: The oft-repeated media talking point that Mitt Romney is skirting the law by having a Swiss bank account, or the actual belief that he is?”
Or,
“Which came first: The oft-repeated media talking point that Barack Obama is the second coming of JFK/FDR/Lincoln, or the actual belief that he is?”

KS Rex on January 30, 2012 at 9:09 PM

When we reach the other side of the primaries, my prediction is that GOP voters will be very satisfied with the discipline, grit and determination the eventual GOP nominee developed over the course of this long slog.

I’m not walking a precint for Romney, period. Living in California I do not even have to vote for him. Romney could end like this years BCS, all the hype but none of the ratings. I would not be suprised if Romney gets fewer votes than McCain did in blue states.

Theworldisnotenough on January 30, 2012 at 9:10 PM

This bag of snakes needs to be thrown into the river. Can we have a do over?

AllahsNippleHair on January 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM

When we reach the other side of the primaries, my prediction is that GOP voters will be very satisfied with the discipline, grit and determination the eventual GOP nominee developed over the course of this long slog.

Bless your heart, you just keep telling yourself that. Whatever helps you fall asleep at night.

DRayRaven on January 30, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Tina, it’s more than we “really, really care.” This is a weak group of candidates with Paul being crazy, old uncle Ron. We might unify, but only because most of us think leaving Obama as POTUUS would be an unmittigated (no, that’s not a Romney pun) disaster for America. I didn’t vote in 2004 because I felt both major party candidates needed to lose. This time I’ve got to vote against Obama. I’m not really happy with the choices and more time won’t make it any better.

Gladtobehere on January 30, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Oh yes, I’m very dissatisfied also. IMO if Mitt gets the nomination, Obama is re-elected, and if Newt gets the nomination, Obama gets re-elected! God help America.

GFW on January 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM

So interesting to see those who ranted about Obama for the past three years and swore up and down that America had died are so willing to usher him into his second term. Absolutely amazing that some can just forget how utterly disastrous his term has been and the effect it has had on the economy. Hope you have long-term job security because with a crazy ideologue like Obama, he is going to go full-blown in his last term. We haven’t seen anything yet.

sherry on January 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM

The high level of dissatisfaction is not necessarily a negative, though.

Tina Korbe on Jan 30, 2012 7:45 PM

it seems like you’re always defending the elite consensus and not average citizens who are sick and tired of getting another country club establishment Republican forced upon them that they do NOT want and have to SETTLE on…

apocalypse on January 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM

it seems like you’re always defending the elite consensus and not average citizens who are sick and tired of getting another country club establishment Republican forced upon them that they do NOT want and have to SETTLE on…

apocalypse on January 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM

What makes you think that you speak for average citizens?

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Malkin vs Palin vs Establishment

May the best candidate win.

SouthernGent on January 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Heck, I’d pay to see Malkin annd Palin fight it out instead of Romney and Gingrich.

Gladtobehere on January 30, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Tina, it’s more than we “really, really care.” This is a weak group of candidates with Paul being crazy, old uncle Ron. We might unify, but only because most of us think leaving Obama as POTUUS would be an unmittigated (no, that’s not a Romney pun) disaster for America. I didn’t vote in 2004 because I felt both major party candidates needed to lose. This time I’ve got to vote against Obama. I’m not really happy with the choices and more time won’t make it any better.

Gladtobehere on January 30, 2012 at 9:19 PM

I think that Romney will be a much tougher candidate than people expect. It’s pretty much how much he has improved since 2008. Moreover, I get the feeling that conservatives will wind up being pleasantly surprised by Romney’s governance.

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 9:35 PM

I really don’ understand the continued fascination with Palin.

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Did anyone just watch Bill O’Reilly totally humiliate Rick Santorum just now?

Disgusting.

JPeterman on January 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I like Santorum. I think he’s without a doubt the best of the three.

Bill O’Reilly is disgusting. He’s a bloviating tool.

Conservchik on January 30, 2012 at 9:42 PM

If anybody wants to rail against the “establishment” here is some food for thought: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/01/newts-flameout

I saw some posts that were wondering out loud how Gingrich became the “anti-establishment” candidate despite his past deep establishment workings. It’s not so much the fact that Gingrich wasn’t part of the “machine” so much as it was the fact that the current day “machine” does not want Gingrich.

The establishment wants a “ho hum” candidate that won’t scare the middle-middle lefters. They’re most likely especially concerned about a majority party switch in congress halfway through a GOP presidency and they want the President to be agreeable enough to keep the losses to a minimum and prevent a similar “shellacking” event that our current President received. They’re also banking on the fact that Romney who has touted his “I worked with a heavily Democratic legislature” abilities will be able to pull something out of congress should that majority party switch occur. Though the likelihood of that being something that the GOP will be pleased with is minimal.

But you also have to keep in mind the fact that should Romney become President and the GOP is not happy with the governmental performance (or lack of cuts/agency removal/obamacare repeal), what then? Primary challenge him? Hand him another 4 years while having their “crazy right wing ideals” be ignored? Stick even more tea partiers in congress?

sublibertate on January 30, 2012 at 9:47 PM

Did anyone just watch Bill O’Reilly totally humiliate Rick Santorum just now?

Disgusting.

JPeterman on January 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I am sick of that blow hard. I remember him bragging time and time again that Barry and Michal Moore would not dare to come onto his show and that he’ll tear them to pieces if they did. When they showed up, he was groveling on his knees. He is a tough guy in his own mind.

Shut up and stick to sexually harassing your female employee. Call her up and talk dirty on the phone. It will be ok as long as you have the money to pay the settlement to hush things up.

galtani on January 30, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Hahahahaha . . . . Galtani, I like your style. O’Reilly is a total phony.

Conservchik on January 30, 2012 at 9:49 PM

But you also have to keep in mind the fact that should Romney become President and the GOP is not happy with the governmental performance (or lack of cuts/agency removal/obamacare repeal), what then? Primary challenge him? Hand him another 4 years while having their “crazy right wing ideals” be ignored? Stick even more tea partiers in congress?

sublibertate on January 30, 2012 at 9:47 PM

It will be up to the Congress critters to keep him on the straight and narrow. This is why holding the House and picking up the Senate will be huge. I have no doubt that Romney can/will govern as a conservative with a Republican congress. Hopefully Romney has a great and productive first two years in office.

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 9:55 PM

The sheer undesirability of his reelection gives the entire primary a note of adrenaline that’s hard to bear up under and can lead to feelings of exhaustion and despair

^^This.

I’m sick of and exhausted by the minutiae, and we have 7 months until Convention?

I’m ready to just check out and vote R in Nov,

There’s a bug going around. I caught it yesterday….

lynncgb on January 30, 2012 at 9:57 PM

There’s a bug going around. I caught it yesterday….

lynncgb on January 30, 2012 at 9:57 PM

Yeah, my bug is diagnosed as “OD”, overdose, as in why the hell do we start a nominating process that culminates in a late August Convention in January!

So of course we start having blog-talk in June…the year before.

It’s too wearying.

My proposal:

Simultaneous Nationwide Primary in June, Summer Solstice, then bargain and trade votes and old-fashioned “horse trade” until the convention 2 months later in August.

Then it’s battle on! ’til November.

Enough of this “half the reign” (2 years) consuming the obsession to obtain “another reign”.

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM

It’s too wearying.

My proposal:

Simultaneous Nationwide Primary in June, Summer Solstice, then bargain and trade votes and old-fashioned “horse trade” until the convention 2 months later in August.

Then it’s battle on! ’til November.

Enough of this “half the reign” (2 years) consuming the obsession to obtain “another reign”.

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM

I like having the candidates go into each of the States. Somebody that wants to be president of the United States should face the people, state by state.

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM

like having the candidates go into each of the States. Somebody that wants to be president of the United States should face the people, state by state.

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Me too!

But isn’t 3 months enough? What’s with this 2-year-torture-test?

Forget the drain on the candidates, I’m worn out Already!

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 10:39 PM

But isn’t 3 months enough? What’s with this 2-year-torture-test?

I don’t know… it does seem like a bit much. Was it always this way? It seems like a pretty recent development…

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Hey, 2 years maybe made sense on horseback…but in the modern age of every candidate on every news show every day, spinning ad-nauseam what they said last night at the 1000th debate, and then the repeats of the same “news” every 4 hours….TOO MUCH, ENOUGH!

Compress the cycle…

(oops…cut revenues of the Media…never happen)

So, Circus! More Bread! (we wish). More Wine! (I’ll handle it, thanks..no Gov’t help needed, but a lot LESS gov’t INTERFERENCE could be used)…

Catch my drift…DON’T TREAD ON ME!

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 10:49 PM

But isn’t 3 months enough? What’s with this 2-year-torture-test?

I don’t know… it does seem like a bit much. Was it always this way? It seems like a pretty recent development…

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 10:41 PM

We have a 24 hour news cycle, and a plethora of blogs. They have to fill those with information, good bad, and indifferent. I was reading the other day about the 2016 race. Good grief. Really, do we NEED 24/7 news?

No!

herm2416 on January 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Good grief. Really, do we NEED 24/7 news?

No!

herm2416 on January 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM

When there is 24/7 news worth reporting, maybe so.

When the “news” is 96 hours away, it’s all speculation and spin.

Who is John Galt on January 30, 2012 at 11:07 PM

“Behind every great fortune is a great crime”

liberal4life on January 30, 2012 at 8:06 PM

“Behind every massive debt is a jackass(1) elected by an army of fools.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

(1) jack.ass – a male donkey

dominigan on January 30, 2012 at 11:26 PM

ok Mittbots defend this. which part of most of the GOP can’t stand mitt do you not get?

unseen on January 31, 2012 at 12:08 AM

dominigan on January 30, 2012 at 11:26 PM

But the army “of fools” are the folks we defend. They are the “electorate”. The Constitution, as amended, protects their rights.

So, do we allow the ship to go down, or we re-visit some of the amendments (13th, cough)?

In the current political environment?
No.

We’re “scroomed”.

Who is John Galt on January 31, 2012 at 12:17 AM

The work of cutting has always been up to Congress. We need the Senate by a big enough majority to either invoke cloture (60 votes, a long shot at best) or intimidate enough of the 21 Democrats up in 2014 not to filibuster. The President will be the one to implement this.

Of course, Obama will veto any cuts and shut down the government before he allows any. But the real difference is in the regulators, DOJ, and the hundreds of lifetime judicial appointments the next term will get, including at least one SCOTUS seat and maybe three. Those will affect the country and the Constitution for decades.

Allowing Obama to make those picks because you didn’t like the field of Republicans seems foolhardy or worse.

Adjoran on January 31, 2012 at 8:26 AM

I think we are not dissatisfied with the ‘Field’. We are disappointed that the debates have degraded and eroded into petty, nasty personal fights discussing cr@p we could care less about. For example, I could care less what stocks Romney’s portfolio was investing in. I am tired of millionaire Newt who took a direct paycheck from Freddie Mac attack Romney for being a millionaire and for benefitting from Freddie stock dividends. HYPOCRITE!

ISSUE #1: Massive Government
ISSUE #2: Massive, out-of-control Deficit Spending
Issue #3: Record-setting, nation destroying Debt
ISSUE #4: CREATE & PASS a BUDGET — No budget passed, even though one is required by law every year, in 3 years.
ISSUE #5: Balanced Budget Law – need to mandate the federal government MUST have a balanced budget every year – NO DEFICIT SPENDING!

There’s your top 5 most Americans care about. This GOP ‘circus’ has gotten wrapped up in attacking each other, has forgotten who the real ‘enemy’ is, and has not talked about the problems we face or what they intend to do about it.

easyt65 on January 31, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Here’s some ideas:

MASSIVE GOVT SIZE:
o Immediately fire all ‘Czars’ – Un-Constitutional, anyway.
o Eliminate all new agencies Obama created (Obama named 5 more he wants to create during the SOTU address)
o Evaluate all existing agencies and make cuts
** Eliminate the Department of Education, for example – turn that role/responsibility over to the states for them to regulate themselves.

ISSUE #2: Deficit Spending / ISSUE #5: Balanced Budget Law
o Don’t even allow this issue to be bogged down in the extremely partisan mire that is the House and Senate – Order, by Presidential Mandate, a mandatory Balanced Budget law that forces Congress to pass a Balanced Budget every year, prohibiting Congress from engaging in ANY deficit spending at all unless in extreme cases.
** I would add in that should the Senate fail to produce that budget, as required annually by law (something that has not happened in 3 years) that ALL members of the Senate will recive an automatic CENSURE (and possible personal monetary FINE for violating the law).

ISSUE #3: Massive Debt.
o FREEZE Government agency expenses/cost. Currently by law every aagency gets something like a 2% increase automatically – eliminate that and REALLY freeze the budget at EXISTING levels.
o Eliminate the automatic Congressional pay increase – FREEZE the salaries of Congress (House and Senate), The VP, and President.
o Ron Paul should be Economic Advisor – come up with $1 Trillion in CUTS immediately.
** Shrimp-on-a-treadmill-like BS pork; Foreign aid to HAMAS/Muslim Brotherhood/Libya’s new Al Qaeda government, etc;
o Demand many who got bailout money REPAY that money.
** Pelosi’s husband whose company got bailout money – make him pay it back.

‘The Trump’ Plan: All these nations who want our military protection/support should start paying us for that support!
o No more providing free military protection, giving them trade deals that benefit them more than it does us on top of it, and giving ‘them’ billions in foreign aid $$ to boot!
o The government was so worried about the ‘Oil for Food’ perception/BS in Iraq that we made sure we DIDN’T get any oil after the sacrifice in lives/money. We SHOULD have gotten oil!

The ‘Bob & Doug Mckenzie’ / Fl a Rep Alan West’ Plan:
o Tell Obama to ‘Take off, eh’, sign the agreement with Canada, build the friggin’ pipeline, get Canada’s oil, and tell Iran they can close the straight all they want (for now) because THEY don’t dictate/threaten our national security over oil!

easyt65 on January 31, 2012 at 9:10 AM

This place used to have intelligent posters, it now resembles the primate exhibit.

boardy9 on January 30, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Yep, everyone who joined after the person just before you is worthless.

AttaBoyLuther on January 31, 2012 at 1:37 PM

The high level of dissatisfaction is not necessarily a negative, though.

Tina Korbe on Jan 30, 2012 7:45 PM

It seems like you’re always defending the elite consensus and not average citizens who are sick and tired of getting another country club establishment Republican forced upon them that they do NOT want and have to SETTLE on…

apocalypse on January 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM

What makes you think that you speak for average citizens?

ghostwriter on January 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM

The sooner you UNDERSTAND that Democrats and Republicans aren’t controlled by average citizens who give $5 contributions or $10 contributions or even $500 contributions. They’re controlled by multi national corporate giants who organize fundraisers and raise hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars for the political process and candidates. That’s who controls what happens in Washington and that’s who controls what happens in American politics and the SOONER you UNDERSTAND that you will know why the high level of dissatisfaction is a NEGATIVE for average citizens… you arrogant low life piece of garbage

apocalypse on January 31, 2012 at 2:13 PM

I like Santorum. I think he’s without a doubt the best of the three.

Bill O’Reilly is disgusting. He’s a bloviating tool.

Conservchik on January 30, 2012 at 9:42 PM

RESPECT on both points..

apocalypse on January 31, 2012 at 2:21 PM

anyone but Obama …

that gets me to sleep at night ….

point 1. Keep the House.

point 2. Take the Senate.

point 3. More GOP Governors

point 4. More GOP controlled assemblies. ( make fleebagging impossible by having quorums of GOP’s.

point 5. take the WH.

IMO of course ….

conservative tarheel on January 31, 2012 at 2:39 PM

easyt65 on January 31, 2012 at 9:10 AM

I like it alot ….

conservative tarheel on January 31, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Say, whatever happened to the “Generic Republican” that had Obama whipped by 20 points last year? Never showed up, did he! We have no presidential timber, folks; we have vines posing as timber. And, sorry to say, there’s not a president in the bunch.

Gordy on January 31, 2012 at 6:09 PM

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