Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rasmussen July 18-19 Poll Indicates A Mitt Romney-Sarah Palin Ticket May Be The Strongest Possible Republican Presidential Tag Team For 2012

A Rasmussen poll of 1,000 respondents taken from July 18-19, 2009 indicates that a Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin could be the strongest possible combination to send up against Barack Obama in 2012, and that Romney should be at the top of the ticket.

This poll focused exclusively on Romney and Palin, and measured how each would do against Obama if the election were held now.

Barack Obama: 45 percent
Mitt Romney: 45 percent
Other Candidate: 7 percent
Don't Know: 3 percent

Barack Obama: 48 percent
Sarah Palin: 42 percent
Other Candidate: 7 percent
Don't Know: 3 percent

The fact that Romney polls better than Palin is not the only reason he should be at the top of the ticket. Romney clearly has a much more commanding presidential demeanor, and has a better grasp of economics. He would command more respect from international leaders. Palin is less presidential, but adds the energy and effervescence missing from Romney's persona, and, despite what her critics say, is a reasonably quick study. Romney's professionalism would be perfectly complemented by Palin's passion.

In addition, one of Romney's lingering weaknesses is offset by a Palin strength - Evangelicals. Evangelicals continue to be slow to warm up to Romney because of lingering distrust of his Mormonism. In contrast, Palin has some strength among the Evangelical community - a strength that could blunt a prospective challenge from Mike Huckabee.

The latter is significant, because a July 6th Rasmussen poll of 750 Republican voters indicates that Huckabee still commands some allegiance among the GOP rank-and-file. When asked whom they would vote for – from among a list of prominent Republicans - in the 2012 party primary in their state: 25 percent said Romney, 24 percent said Palin, and 22 percent opted for Huckabee. Newt Gingrich was fourth with 14 percent; the other two were strictly anecdotal.

What Romney doesn't want to see happen is for Sarah Palin to bolt and run as an independent - or even start a third party. The July 18-19 poll indicated that in a prospective three-way contest, Obama would get 44 percent, Romney second with 33 percent, and Palin a distant third with 16 percent.

A couple of Utah poll-watchers weighed in with the Deseret News. Utah's top pollster, Dan Jones, said that it's still an indicator, even though it's very early in the election cycle. He would be very surprised if it remained that way. He believes the poll results say more about how Americans view Obama than a potential GOP challenger.

The results should give both Romney and the GOP a boost, said Kelly Patterson, the director of BYU's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. "Gov. Romney can take a lot of heart from this because the Republican Party has gone through a very difficult stretch," Patterson said. "The fact that any Republican candidate is that close to Obama at this point is good news for the Republican Party."

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