According to the latest Gallup Poll.
Mitt Romney, one of the two leaders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, receives generally equal support across Republican political issue groups. Sarah Palin, the other leader, has a more segmented appeal, with greater support among Republicans most concerned about social and moral issues, and less interest from Republicans focused on government spending and power.
The largest segment of Republicans (36%) continue to say government spending and power is their top concern. Romney does best in this segment, followed by a group of four candidates between 10% and 13% support. Herman Cain, the less well-known candidate — who nevertheless generates a good deal of positive intensity among those who know him — does slightly better than Newt Gingrich, Palin, or Ron Paul within this issue group. Paul, an avowed libertarian, has made the push for restraining government power the hallmark of his political career, but he does not have an unusually strong position among these Republicans.
There has been some talk around the nets that Sarah Palin’s latest bus tour is a charade and that after she milks the media or attention and adoration will withdraw and endorse Herman Cain. Interesting, because Herman Cain has been drawing a lot of attention around Tea party circles.
The second-most-prevalent group consists of Republicans whose most salient issue is business and the economy (31%). Republicans in this group are most likely to favor Romney and Palin, with Paul and Gingrich lagging slightly behind. Romney is the only major GOP candidate who has an MBA and is one of the few candidates who have extensive experience in the corporate world. Cain’s experience includes his position as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, but he does not do particularly well among Republicans whose main interest is business and the economy.
Fifteen percent of Republicans say their main political interest is social issues and moral values. Mike Huckabee dominated as the candidate of choice among this group in previous months, and his announcement on May 14 that he would not be running therefore left a void. Palin now fares best among this group, receiving 23% support, followed by Romney at 18% and Paul at 11%. No other candidate gets double-digit support. In April, Huckabee led with 26% support among this group, while Palin received 18%.
Another 15% of Republicans say national security and foreign policy is their biggest concern. Romney and Palin tie for the lead among this group, with Cain coming in third, slightly ahead of Gingrich.
Without a doubt Sarah Palin entering the race will be a game changer. It means that Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman will be dead as an alternative to the “establishment candidate” in Mitt Romney. Michele Bachmann will remain a wild card since she will command a large presence in Iowa, the first GOP caucus state.
And, here is a poll of GOP issue priorities:
So, what does this all mean?
Romney’s roughly equal appeal among the four issue-defined segments of Republicans is one of the most interesting outcomes of this research. Romney in general has high favorable ratings and low unfavorable ratings, but he does not generate the same type of intense feelings as do other candidates. These data suggest that Romney does well among Republicans in all four issue segments, but doesn’t have unusually strong appeal in any.
Palin, on the other hand has a more segmented appeal. With Huckabee’s departure from the GOP race, she now fares best among Republicans who say social and moral issues are their top concern, and essentially ties for first among those who favor business and the economy and national security/foreign policy. Palin, however, lags among the largest group of Republicans — those most focused on government spending and power.
Cain, overall one of Republicans’ top five choices for their party’s nomination, despite being recognized by only a third of Republicans, places strongly among Republicans whose most important issue is government spending and power. Cain also does well among national security and foreign policy-interested Republicans.
The other two candidates among Republicans’ top five choices for the nomination — Paul and Gingrich — do not have highly segmented positioning across the GOP interest groups. Paul does less well among those interested in national security and foreign policy, and Gingrich does less well among those interested in social and moral values.
I say it is likely to see a Mitt Romney versus Sarah Palin face-off for the GOP nomination, unless the Bush donors tire of Romney. Then, at this late date, they will try to coerce Chris Christie into the race. In that case, Sarah Palin may win in a three-way contest.