by Dan Gibson
There are certainly some problems with taking a national poll in November seriously in trying to determine which Republican will run against Barack Obama next year, considering the primary process is a state-by-state affair and anything can happen between now and January, but still it's somewhat interesting to see the conservative voter-base try to settle on a candidate. Remember when people were really excited about Rick Perry? Last month when Herman Cain was everywhere? Now that those two seem less presidential, it's Gingrich time!
Compared to a month ago Gingrich is up 13 points, while Cain has dropped by 5 points and Romney has gone down by 4. Although a fair amount of skepticism remains about the recent allegations against Cain there is no doubt they are taking a toll on his image- his net favorability is down 25 points over the last month from +51 (66/15) to only +26 (57/31). What is perhaps a little more surprising is that Romney's favorability is at a 6 month low in our polling too with only 48% of voters seeing him favorably to 39% with a negative opinion.
Gingrich's lead caps an amazing comeback he's made over the last 5 months. In June his favorability nationally with Republican voters plummeted all the way to 36/49. Now he's at 68/23, representing a 58 point improvement in his spread since then. As recently as August Gingrich was mired in single digits at 7%, and even in September he was at just 10%. He's climbed 18 points in less than 2 months.
I wonder if Mitt Romney cries himself to sleep every night. It would be hard not to take being the "meh" candidate personally.
As for Romney he has not shown any ability to take advantage of the trouble his fellow candidates keep getting themselves into. In July Romney was at 20%, in August at 20%, in September at 18%, October at 22%, and now in November at 18%. He's been at 20 +/-2% for the last five months in our polling. While the flavor of the month has gone from Trump to Bachmann to Perry to Cain to Gingrich, Romney hasn't had a turn in that seat- he can only hope that his chance in that role will come in January, which is certainly the best time to have it.