PPP: Mitt Romney Leads President Obama

Two weeks out from the 2012 Iowa caucuses, this is a positive sign for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as he works to bolster his electability argument among GOP primary voters. Unfortunately if a reputable third party candidate enters the general election battle for president, the eventual Republican nominee could find himself or herself at a real disadvantage. Public Policy Polling (PPP) has more:

For the first time in PPP's monthly national polling since July 2010 Mitt Romney's taken a lead, albeit a small one, over Barack Obama.  He's up 47-45. 

Romney has two main things going for him. He leads the President 45-36 with independents. And he's also benefiting from a much more unified party with 88% of Republicans committed to voting for him while only 83% of Democrats say they'll vote for Obama.

Our national survey confirms the wide electability gap between Romney and the rest of the Republican candidate field. Obama leads both Newt Gingrich (49-44) and Ron Paul (46-41) by 5 points, Michele Bachmann (50-41) by 9, and Rick Perry (50-40) by 10.  It continues to look like if GOP voters really want to defeat Obama they pretty much have to nominate Romney.

One thing that could confound Romney's prospects is if a strong third party candidate entered the race. 

The strongest potential independent candidate we tested is Donald Trump who gets 19% in a three way contest with Obama at 45% and Romney at 31%.

The only other potential independent we tested who registers in double digits is Jon Huntsman at 11%. Obama gets 43% and Romney 37% in that three way contest. 

It's clear there's a lot more desire for a third party candidate from conservative voters than Obama supporters.

The big picture on our national poll remains the same: Obama/Romney is a toss up, Obama has an advantage on the rest of the Republican field, and a third party candidate could pave the way for Obama's reelection.

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published this page in In The News 2011-12-21 01:00:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy