Oh my: 58% of Republicans want more candidates to choose from

None of the above.

The survey finds that 58 percent of Republican primary voters want more presidential choices, while just 37 percent say they are satisfied with the current field. The percentage of Republican primary voters that wants more choices has increased 12 percentage points since October

It’s mathematically possible for another candidate to enter the race as late as early February and still win enough delegates to take the nomination, though some deadlines for candidates to get on state ballots have already passed, including those in delegate-rich Virginia and Illinois. A late entry into the GOP race would come with potentially-overwhelming obstacles, including the need to instantly build a national campaign apparatus and do the hard work of getting on state ballots in an extremely compressed time period…

There is no candidate in the GOP field who more than one third of Republican primary voters say they would enthusiastically support if he were the nominee. Rick Santorum does best in terms of enthusiasm, with 33 percent saying they would enthusiastically support him.

I know what you’re thinking, but c’mon. It may be “mathematically possible” to jump in now and win the most delegates but the Romney and Paul machines would battle to the bitter end. There’s no one on the Republican landscape with the possible exception of Jeb Bush who could declare today and sweep the field, and I doubt even Jeb could pull that off with Romney fighting him state by state. And no, a brokered convention wouldn’t solve the problem. Can you imagine the public watching Romney, Paul, and one of the other candidates wage a 50-state war for the next six months, with all the media coverage that would entail, only to have some entirely new person dropped on them as nominee two months before the election? Voters aren’t going to hand the launch codes to someone like Paul Ryan or Chris Christie who’s unknown to 80 percent of the electorate. And the baggage of Jeb’s last name would be even heavier if he were picked at a brokered convention: It would smell illegitimate, as if the GOP establishment had somehow engineered a primary coup to install yet another member of the Bush royal family to the throne. There’s just no way out of this situation, I think.

How depressed are Republicans about their predicament? Compare this year to 2008 in Pew’s new data:

I can’t believe it’s actually as high as 51 percent. There must be some sort of floor, probably around 40 percent or so, for any given field just based on pure partisanship within the sample. Figure 40 percent of either party will always, always say that a particular field is good or excellent. This crew has convinced another 11 percent of the remaining 60 that they’re worthy. Wonderful.