Many Republican voters may be looking for a good conservative candidate to nominate for President this year; however, the latest Economist/YouGov Poll (Week of 12/31/2011) finds GOP voters much more likely to describe former President George W. Bush — and former Alaska Governor and current non-candidate Sarah Palin — as a conservative than they are to say that about any of the leading candidates.
Nearly three-quarters of Republicans describe former President Bush as conservative and 80% describe Palin that way. 60% think of Gingrich as conservative (the highest figure among the top four finishers in Tuesday’s Iowa Caucuses — 64% describe Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann that way). Barely half see Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul as conservatives.
In fact, 14% of Republicans describe Paul, who finished a close third in Iowa, as a liberal. As for Romney, 23% describe him as a moderate, the highest figure for all current Republican candidates asked about in the poll.
The ideological characterization of Romney, now the GOP frontrunner, is much like GOP voters’ current characterization of their 2008 nominee, John McCain, who endorsed Romney on Wednesday. Only 51% of Republicans describe McCain as a conservative; more than a quarter say he is moderate.
Photo source: Press Association