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President Obama Would Lose if Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani Was the Nominee

Republican field problem is one of recognition - most are unknown

NEW YORK, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- By this time next summer the Republican candidate who will challenge President Obama will be known but at this point the list of candidates and potential candidates for the nomination is still far from finalized. With the "will-he-or-she-run-questions" still being asked and answered, some of the names with the highest familiarity among the general public are still not even declared candidates.


Obviously because of her run for Vice President with John McCain, almost nine in ten Americans (86%) are familiar with Sarah Palin and 75% of U.S. adults are familiar with Rudy Giuliani, both of whom are still undeclared, but possible candidates for the nomination. Majorities of Americans are familiar with declared candidates Newt Gingrich (72%), Mitt Romney (67%), and Ron Paul (52%) while half are familiar with Michele Bachmann (50%). All other potential candidates are at 30% or under in terms of familiarity.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Even among Republicans, many declared candidates do not have majorities familiar with them. Tim Pawlenty (33%), Rick Santorum (31%), Herman Cain (29%), and Jon Huntsman (15%) all have one-third of Republicans or less familiar with them.

With this in mind, it's not surprising then that among Republicans over one-quarter (28%) say they are not at all sure who they would vote for if they were voting in the Republican primary. Rudy Giuliani (14%) and Mitt Romney (14%) rise to the top among Republicans followed by Sarah Palin (12%). All the other candidates presented are under 10% including Rick Perry (8%), Michele Bachmann (6%), and Ron Paul (5%). Among Independents there is a three tie for "first place" between Rudy Giuliani (10%), Mitt Romney (10%) and Ron Paul (10%). But over two in five Independents (42%) say they are not at all sure who they would vote for in the Republican primary election.

Against President Obama

Looking ahead to November, it seems there are three possible candidates who could give President Obama a difficult time. President Obama would lose his re-election if Rudy Giuliani (53% to 47%) or Mitt Romney (51% to 49%) was the Republican nominee. Each candidate would receive 50% of the vote if the President was running against Ron Paul. Right now, President Obama would win re-election against the 10 other candidates presented.

So What?

Right now the Republican party needs to figure out who they are and begin the process of coalescing around one candidate. In the study of politics, there is always a debate regarding electability and this election may show that clearly. Should Republicans nominate a candidate who stands for certain values or policies important to a sub-section of the party, even though that candidate may not be electable in the general election? This is a question the Republican party needs to answer if they want to win next November.

                                TABLE 1A
                         REPUBLICAN FAMILIARITY
        "How familiar are you with each of the following people?"
    Base: All adults

                        Familiar     Very     Somewhat
                         (NET)     familiar   familiar
                           %          %          %
    Sarah Palin               86         48         38
    Rudy Giuliani             75         37         39
    Newt Gingrich             72         35         37
    Mitt Romney               67         29         38
    Ron Paul                  52         19         33
    Michele Bachmann          50         19         31
    Rick Perry                30         13         17
    Tim Pawlenty              28          9         19
    Rick Santorum             28         10         18
    Herman Cain               22          7         15
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.         15          4         11
    Gary Johnson               8          3          5
    Thaddeus McCotter          8          3          5

                           Not        Not     Not at
                        familiar     very       all
                         (NET)     familiar   familiar
                           %          %          %
    Sarah Palin               14          8          5
    Rudy Giuliani             25         11         14
    Newt Gingrich             28         14         13
    Mitt Romney               33         16         16
    Ron Paul                  48         21         27
    Michele Bachmann          50         18         32
    Rick Perry                70         20         50
    Tim Pawlenty              72         22         50
    Rick Santorum             72         20         52
    Herman Cain               78         18         60
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.         85         22         63
    Gary Johnson              92         18         74
    Thaddeus McCotter         92         15         77

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

                                     TABLE 1B
                              REPUBLICAN FAMILIARITY
            "How familiar are you with each of the following people?"
          Summary of those saying "Very familiar" or "Somewhat familiar"
    Base: All adults

                        Total              Party ID
                                  Rep.      Dem.      Ind.
                          %        %         %         %
    Sarah Palin             86       88         89       89
    Rudy Giuliani           75       77         77       78
    Newt Gingrich           72       76         74       76
    Mitt Romney             67       74         65       73
    Ron Paul                52       55         50       60
    Michele Bachmann        50       50         50       55
    Rick Perry              30       38         26       30
    Tim Pawlenty            28       33         25       33
    Rick Santorum           28       31         27       32
    Herman Cain             22       29         17       25
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.       15       15         17       16
    Gary Johnson             8       11          7        8
    Thaddeus McCotter        8        8          7        8

                        Cons.     Mod.      Lib.
                          %         %         %
    Sarah Palin             85        86        91
    Rudy Giuliani           74        74        80
    Newt Gingrich           76        69        74
    Mitt Romney             69        65        70
    Ron Paul                54        48        59
    Michele Bachmann        53        43        59
    Rick Perry              37        26        29
    Tim Pawlenty            32        25        33
    Rick Santorum           33        23        32
    Herman Cain             32        16        21
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.       17        11        23
    Gary Johnson             9         7         8
    Thaddeus McCotter        6         8         7

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

                                      TABLE 2
                            REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION
       "If you were voting in the Republican primary election and these were
                      the candidates, who would you vote for?"
    Base: All adults

                           Total   Total   Total
                           March    May    July
                            2011    2011    2011

                             %       %       %
    Rudy Giuliani              8       8      11
    Mitt Romney               10      10      11
    Sarah Palin                7       5       8
    Ron Paul                NA         6       7
    Rick Perry              NA      NA         5
    Michele Bachmann           2       2       4
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.       NA         1       3
    Herman Cain             NA         2       3
    Tim Pawlenty               2       2       1
    Newt Gingrich              5       4       1
    Rick Santorum              1     *         1
    Thaddeus McCotter       NA      NA       *
    Gary Johnson            NA         1     *
    Not at all sure           45      42      44

                                 Party ID
                          Rep.    Dem.   Ind.
                            %       %      %
    Rudy Giuliani            14      11     10
    Mitt Romney              14      12     10
    Sarah Palin              12       7      5
    Ron Paul                  5       5     10
    Rick Perry                8       1      6
    Michele Bachmann          6       2      6
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.         2       4      2
    Herman Cain               4       1      4
    Tim Pawlenty              4     *        1
    Newt Gingrich             3     *        1
    Rick Santorum             1       1    *
    Thaddeus McCotter       *       *        1
    Gary Johnson            *         1    *
    Not at all sure          28      53     42

                          Cons.    Mod.   Lib.
                             %       %      %
    Rudy Giuliani             10      12     13
    Mitt Romney               11      11     13
    Sarah Palin                9       8      7
    Ron Paul                   6       6      8
    Rick Perry                10       2      2
    Michele Bachmann           8       3      2
    Jon Huntsman, Jr.          1       2      9
    Herman Cain                5       3      1
    Tim Pawlenty               3       1    *
    Newt Gingrich              3     *        1
    Rick Santorum              1       1    *
    Thaddeus McCotter        *         1    *
    Gary Johnson               1     *      *
    Not at all sure           34      51     44

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * indicates
    less than .05%; NA indicates it was not asked in that poll.

                               TABLE 3A
    "Looking at the list below, assuming each person listed is the
       Republican nominee running against President Obama in the
         2012 presidential election, who would you vote for?"
    Base: All adults

                            Would vote for
                      President       The
                         Obama    Republican
                           %           %
     McCotter                 57           43
    Gary Johnson              56           44
    Herman Cain               56           44
    Jon Huntsman,
     Jr.                      55           45
    Rick Santorum             55           45
    Rick Perry                54           46
    Michele Bachmann          54           46
    Tim Pawlenty              54           46
    Newt Gingrich             54           46
    Sarah Palin               54           46
    Ron Paul                  50           50
    Mitt Romney               49           51
    Rudy Giuliani             47           53

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

                                        TABLE 3B
             "Looking at the list below, assuming each person listed is the
             Republican nominee running against President Obama in the 2012
                    presidential election, who would you vote for?"
               Summary of those who would vote for the Republican nominee
    Base: All adults

                       Total   Total    Total
                       March     May    July
                        2011    2011     2011

                         %       %       %
    Rudy Giuliani         51       51      53
    Mitt Romney           49       49      51
    Ron Paul            NA         45      50
    Sarah Palin           42       42      46
    Newt Gingrich         44       44      46
    Tim Pawlenty          44       42      46
    Michele Bachmann      41       42      46
    Rick Perry          NA       NA        46
    Rick Santorum         43       43      45
    Jon Huntsman,
     Jr.                NA         41      45
    Herman Cain         NA         41      44
    Gary Johnson        NA         43      44
     McCotter           NA       NA        43

                             Party ID
                      Rep.    Dem.   Ind.
                        %       %      %
    Rudy Giuliani        89      24     56
    Mitt Romney          87      21     55
    Ron Paul             83      18     57
    Sarah Palin          79      20     48
    Newt Gingrich        82      15     49
    Tim Pawlenty         83      15     49
    Michele Bachmann     81      18     49
    Rick Perry           82      17     48
    Rick Santorum        81      15     48
    Jon Huntsman,
     Jr.                 81      16     46
    Herman Cain          79      15     46
    Gary Johnson         80      15     45
     McCotter            79      15     44

                             Philosophy          Tea
                      Cons.    Mod.   Lib.
                         %       %      %       %
    Rudy Giuliani         84      48     19       87
    Mitt Romney           84      45     19       87
    Ron Paul              82      42     19       85
    Sarah Palin           78      40     13       83
    Newt Gingrich         81      37     15       82
    Tim Pawlenty          80      38     13       83
    Michele Bachmann      79      39     13       83
    Rick Perry            80      38     14       84
    Rick Santorum         79      37     14       83
    Jon Huntsman,
     Jr.                  77      37     14       81
    Herman Cain           77      37     12       81
    Gary Johnson          78      36     12       80
     McCotter             77      36     12       80

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; NA
    indicates it was not asked in that poll.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 11 to 18, 2011 among 2,183 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

Q1218, 1225, 1230, 1240, 1250

The Harris Poll(®) #87, July 26, 2011
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
[email protected]

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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