Romney Leads But Has Weaknesses —Most Gop Voters Don’t Think He Is Conservative

February 13, 2012, 6:00 PM GMT+0

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s Saturday victory in Nevada keeps him at the top of the GOP pack — but there are still many Republican primary voters who have not committed to the man who has won three of the first five Republican events.

Romney is the choice of 32% of registered voters who vote in GOP primaries — and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are far behind, with 23% and 16% respectively. Texas Congressman Ron Paul also gets 16%. 

There are gender differences in which candidate, if any, is competitive with the front-runner. For men, that is Gingrich: he and Romney both get 28% from GOP male voters. But it is a very different contest among GOP women voters — Romney leads Gingrich, Santorum and Paul by 20 points. 

And the GOP choices remain problematic for many voters. Fewer than half say they are satisfied with their options. However, 59% claim they will be very or extremely enthusiastic about voting for President in November. 51% of Democratic primary voters say that.

Most GOP voters are convinced that Romney will be their party’s nominee. 77% of GOP primary voters (and 60% of the entire public) expect that Romney will win the GOP nomination.

Romney’s weaknesses among his own party’s voters are that he is neither seen as a conservative, nor viewed as someone who says what he really believes. Just 28% of GOP voters call Romney a conservative. Half describe him as a moderate. These views are far different than GOP voters’ views about Gingrich and Santorum: 63% say Gingrich is a conservative; even more, 76%, describe Santorum that way. 

Romney is different from most GOP voters — 80% half of them say “conservative” describes them very well or moderately well.

Romney also does worse than Gingrich and Santorum among GOP voters when they are asked if he says what he really thinks or what he thinks people want to hear. 57% think the latter. Most say Gingrich and Santorum say what they really believe. 79% say that about Texas Congressman Ron Paul. 

However, Romney is personally liked by most GOP voters. 

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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