NBC/WSJ poll: Cain on top, Romney on hold

That's the ticket? Herman Cain and Mitt Romney (or Mitt Romney and Herman Cain...)

The big takeaway from the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: Mitt Romney is just as acceptable now as he has always been, but he’s no more loved.

And so, the latest surge candidate, Herman Cain, has passed him in the poll. Cain leads Romney 27 percent to 23 percent — the same 23 percent Romney had the last time the poll was taken.

Meanwhile, the previous surge candidate, Rick Perry, has dropped 20 points, from a first place finish at 38 percent in late August, to third place now, and a paltry 16 percent.

As for the other GOP candidates? Well it really doesn’t matter, does it? So let’s move along.

From NBC’s Mark Murray:

Cain’s numbers are sky-high among Republican primary voters. Fifty-two percent view him favorably, versus just 6 percent who see him unfavorably. Among Tea Party supporters, his favorable/unfavorable score is 69 percent to 5 percent. And among Republicans who identify themselves as “very conservative,” it’s 72 percent to 2 percent.

In follow-up interviews with respondents supporting Cain, they argue that he’s not a politician, and that he seems real. “He has common-sense answers and is in touch with the heartbeat of America,” said one respondent, a 46-year-old male from Florida.

“Cain gives direct answers. He is succinct. He isn’t a politician,” answered another who’s a 56-year-old male from Washington.

“Cain presents himself as a real person. He speaks from the heart. He is plainspoken and down to Earth,” added a third respondent, a 56-year-old female from Texas.

“Acceptable” Romney

Despite Cain’s rise and Perry’s fall over the past month and a half, Romney’s standing in the Republican horse race hasn’t changed—it was 23 percent in August, and it’s unchanged at 23 percent now.

But that doesn’t mean that Romney is unappealing to Republican voters. His favorable/unfavorable score is 51 percent to 16 percent, which is in the ballpark of Cain’s.

Among Tea Party supporters, it’s 55 percent to 20 percent, and among “very conservative” Republicans, it’s 60 percent to 19 percent.

President Obama still leads the head to head matchups with Republicans (51/39 Perry, 46/44 Romney, and 49/38 Cain), despite an approval rating that remains under water at 44/51, and a meager 38 percent approval rating on the economy. (His approval rating on fighting terrorism is a rockem-sockem 61/33, which is kind of ironic for a Democratic president.) And the president is back in barely, but still positive, territory on the question of whether voters would probably vote for him (44) or probably vote for his Republican opponent (42).

The “right track/wrong track” numbers are abysmal at 17/74,

And Romney’s biggest vulnerability appears to be his flip floppery on Romneycare.

A few tables:

President Obama still has the best positive/negative ratio of all comers, while Rick Perry and the tea party are deeply under water:

SUMMARY TABLE OF IMAGES – BY D/S (POSITIVE – NEGATIVE)
TOTAL POSITIVE / TOTAL NEGATIVE / D/S
Barack Obama ……………………… 46 40 6
Herman Cain ………………………… 24 18 6
Mitt Romney …………………………. 27 29 -2
The Democratic Party ……………. 37 42 -5
The Republican Party …………….. 33 44 -11
Ron Paul ……………………………… 18 29 -11
The Tea Party Movement ……….. 28 41 -13
Rick Perry ……………………………. 19 36 -17

On priorities, twice as many Americans want D.C. to focus on job creation as want the focus to be on deficits and spending, and even a plurality of Republicans want the priorities to be in that order.

THIS TABLE HAS BEEN RANKED BY HIGHEST 1ST CHOICE PERCENTAGE
1St Choice / 2nd Choice / Combined Choice
Job creation and economic growth ………………………….. 48 22 70
The deficit and government spending ………………………. 16 19 35
Health care ………………………………………………………….. 11 18 28
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ……………………………. 8 12 19
National security and terrorism ……………………………….. 6 10 16
Energy and the cost of gas ……………………………………… 4 8 13
Immigration …………………………………………………………… 4 8 12
Other (VOL) ……………………………………………………….. – 1 1
All equally (VOL) …………………………………………………. 2 – 2
None of these (VOL) ……………………………………………. – 1 1
Not sure …………………………………………………………….. 1 – 1

AMONG GOP PRIMARY VOTERS (N=336)
THIS TABLE HAS BEEN RANKED BY HIGHEST 1ST CHOICE PERCENTAGE
1St Choice / 2nd Choice / Combined Choice
Job creation and economic growth ………………………….. 39 21 60
The deficit and government spending ………………………. 27 24 52
National security and terrorism ……………………………….. 9 15 24
Immigration …………………………………………………………… 7 12 19
Health care ………………………………………………………….. 6 8 15
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ……………………………. 5 8 13
Energy and the cost of gas ……………………………………… 3 7 10
Other (VOL) ……………………………………………………….. 1 1 2
All equally (VOL) …………………………………………………. 3 – 2
None of these (VOL) ……………………………………………. – 1 1
Not sure …………………………………………………………….. – - -

 

Re intensity, 50 percent of respondents said they are more enthusiastic about voting in 2012 than they were in previous elections versus 38 percent who are “less enthusiastic,” and by 45 to 41 percent, respondents want to see a Democratic- rather than a Republican-majority Congress the next time around. That’s a reversal from August, when Republicans won that question 47 percent to 41 percent.

But the real upshot of the poll is this: Mitt Romney was always going to be the nominee (Team Obama is already prepping for him.) It’s just a matter of getting more than a quarter of Republican voters to accept it.

BTW one more takeaway from the poll: By two to one or better, Americans like President Obama’s recently Senate-defeated jobs bill, once it’s explained to them.

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2 Responses to NBC/WSJ poll: Cain on top, Romney on hold

  1. Pingback: What’s in Herman Cain’s book? Plus: 5 reasons to doubt the boomlet : The Reid Report

  2. Flo says:

    So they care more about slogans than debates; and Mitt & Rick, they just can’t seem to get into you.

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