Nastiness of Race Hurting GOP Image

Poll finds voters with less than favorable view of the GOP.


There's more trouble looming for the Republicans.

With Super Tuesday's primaries and caucuses today, the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll reinforces some points I made last week --that the nasty and negative tone of the presidential campaign is hurting the Republican candidates, who can't seem to avoid savaging each other, and that the Democrats plan to use their attacks against the eventual nominee this fall.

Four in 10 adults say the nominating process has left them with a less favorable impression of the Republicans with only one in 10 saying the primaries and caucuses have given them a more favorable view of the party, the poll found.

Nearly 70 percent of those questioned used a negative comment when asked to use a word or phrase to describe the GOP race, including six in 10 independents, who will be a key constituency in the fall campaign. Among the terms used were "unenthusiastic," "discouraged," "painful," "disappointed," "poor choices," and "depressed."

The GOP presidential candidates  ask individuals also have been hurt by all the negative campaigning. Front-runner Mitt Romney, for example, is seen favorably by only 28 percent of voters with 39 percent seeing him in an unfavorable way.

These perceptions are fueling concern among Republican leaders that the GOP needs to coalesce around a single candidate and that the nastiness needs to stop. That's one reason why several leaders of the Republican establishment endorsed Romney over the weekend. They included House Republican Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a conservative stalwart.

A CBS News analysis finds that Romney now has the endorsements of 80 congressional Republicans while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has the endorsements of 11 and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's has three.

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