Quotes of the day

“Former Governor Mitt Romney has struggled to attract support among Tea Party activists in pockets throughout the country, but he appears to have secured broad support among the movement’s supporters in New Hampshire.

“In a new WMUR poll, his favorability among supporters of the Tea Party is strikingly high — 77 percent and far exceeds any other candidate…

“Romney advisers have argued that even while Romney may struggle with some of the movement’s activists — in large part because of his health care law in Massachusetts — his fiscal message of reducing taxes and cutting spending would resonate with the Tea Party philosophy.”

“Birthers make a majority among those voters who say they’re likely to participate in a Republican primary next year. 51% say they don’t think Barack Obama was born in the United States to just 28% who firmly believe that he was and 21% who are unsure. The GOP birther majority is a new development. The last time PPP tested this question nationally, in August of 2009, only 44% of Republicans said they thought Obama was born outside the country while 36% said that he definitely was born in the United States. If anything birtherism is on the rise.

“How does this impact Romney? Well among the 49% of GOP primary voters who either think Obama was born in the United States or aren’t sure, Romney’s the first choice to be the 2012 nominee by a good amount, getting 23% to 16% for Mike Huckabee, 11% for Sarah Palin, and 10% for Newt Gingrich. But with the birther majority he’s in a distant fourth place at 11%, with Mike Huckabee at 24%, Sarah Palin at 19%, and Newt Gingrich at 14% all ahead of him. That pushes him into a second place finish overall at 17% with Mike Huckabee again leading the way this month at 20%. Palin’s third with 15%, followed by Gingrich at 12%, Ron Paul at 8%, Mitch Daniels and Tim Pawlenty at 4%, and John Thune at 1%.”

“Early polls continue to show Mr. Huckabee as the favorite in Iowa.

“‘I have told many of these candidates that they may make Huckabee’s decision for him,’ Mr. Vander Plaats said. ‘If a Pawlenty or Thune or Bachman catch fire among the base, I could see Huckabee saying, ‘I think I will sit this one out.'”

“[T]oday’s Daily Kos poll reveals that Governor Palin is the top second-choice for 40% of Huckabee supporters. Romney is the top second-choice of only 18% of Huckabee supporters.

“It’s clear that Governor Palin stands to benefit dramatically when Mike Huckabee formally ends the charade and announces that he’s not running for the presidency.”

“A detailed examination of Palin’s polling in the early going suggests that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the media splash of her late entry into the presidential caucuses and primaries would barely rock the electoral boat. While her endorsement is likely to be a key 2012 prize, pollsters and Republican operatives in the three states repeat the same mantra: Unusual numbers of Republican voters actively dislike her; and among the majority who like her, few think she can serve as president.

“‘She has a group of ardent supporters who seem to be outnumbered by a group of ardent detractors,’ said Ann Selzer, whose Des Moines Register Iowa Poll is the state’s gold standard, of views of Palin among Republican primary voters. (It’s too early to survey likely caucus-goers, pollsters say.) ‘There’s concern that if she were to do well in Iowa that it would be difficult for her to win, and Republicans in Iowa want to win,’ she said.”

“So it does look like Republicans have some legitimate reason to worry. In the previous five competitive primaries — excluding 2004 for the Republicans, when Mr. Bush won re-nomination uncontested — each party had at least two candidates whose net favorability ratings were in the positive double digits, meaning that their favorables bettered their unfavorables by at least 10 points. All five times, also, the nominee came from among one of the candidates in this group. Republicans have no such candidates at this point in time.”

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