(Week of 3/31/2012) With Mitt Romney within three weeks of winning the Pennsylvania primary and closing out the race for the Republican nomination for President, what’s more remarkable is the continued enthusiasm for the race among those who might be the most disappointed by Romney’s nomination. In the Economist/YouGov poll, 70% of Tea Party Republicans but only 27% of Republicans who do not consider themselves Tea Party supporters say they are following closely news about the 2012 Presidential election campaign.
Results from the Wisconsin primary indicate Romney made in-roads among a related group (evangelicals) even as support for Santorum grew marginally in Wisconsin among non-Tea Party Republicans. The same pattern is clear nationally in this poll.
Republican Tea Party followers remain enthusiastic because they are slowly making their peace with the idea of Romney as the Republican nominee. In a two-way contest, Republican Tea Party followers pick Santorum over Romney by 64%-36%, but among that same group:
- 55% see a field of candidates for the Republican nomination with which they are satisfied, more than the 50% of non-Tea Party Republicans who feel this is a satisfactory field;
- Romney’s favorable rating among Tea Party Republicans has grown to 70% favorable-29% unfavorable, not quite at Santorum’s 81%-17% standing with the Tea Party, but quite strong;
- Tea Party support or lack of support for the Tea Party is no longer the defining issue. Among Tea Party Republicans Santorum leads Romney 33%-25% with 18% for Gingrich, while among non-Tea Party Republicans, Romney leads Santorum by only 36%-28% (just 12% for Gingrich).
After the April 24 Pennsylvania primary, should Romney win, his assignment will be to rally Republicans of both Tea Party and non-Tea Party flavors to defeat President Obama. Romney may be well on his way to achieving that already.
Photo source: Press Association