It might be viewed as buyer's remorse, except the customer has yet to make the purchase.
A new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that Republican voters continue to hold mixed views of their party's 2012 presidential candidates. Barely half (51 percent) of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say the present candidates are excellent or good, while 44 percent rate them fair or poor.
The poll appears on the eve of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday.
The percentage of Republican voters expressing favorable views of the GOP field has budged only a little, from 48 percent in November and 49 percent in August. The last time around, in January 2008, more than two-thirds of those polled (68 percent) rated their choice of candidates as good, while the number for Democrats was 78 percent.
The national survey, conducted Jan. 4-8 among 1,507 adults, including 549 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, finds former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with a sizable lead in the GOP race: 27 percent favor Romney, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are tied for second with 16 percent each. Ron Paul follows them at 12 percent.
Santorum clearly has the momentum following his near-victory in Iowa, having risen from the 3 percent he garnered in December. Romney has edged up from 21 percent, while Gingrich has slipped sharply from his front-runner status, with 33 percent of the vote to less than half that now, at 16 percent. Gingrich has been the target of a heavy amount of negative advertising from the Ron Paul and Mitt Romney camps.
Tea Party sympathizers are divided in their preferences for the candidates: 26 percent support Romney, while Santorum and Gingrich each draw 24 percent. Romney holds a wide lead among Republicans who do not align themselves with the Tea Party. Some 29 percent favor Romney, 14 percent Santorum, 13 percent Gingrich, and 10 percent Paul.