Mitt Romney's stock has soared among Republicans, now that Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump have pulled out of the 2012 GOP presidential race. In a new Suffolk University poll provided to Whispers, 20 percent of Republican primary voters back the former Massachusetts governor. Even better for Romney: In a head-to-head matchup, he falls to Obama by just three points, 43 percent to Obama’s 46 percent.
As the GOP field lurches forward, Romney has proven to be the Steady Eddie in the field and is now the front-runner, especially with poll favorite Huckabee deciding not to run. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP candidates.]
“Romney is the clear front-runner now; that’s a position he’ll have to be prepared to defend over the coming months,” said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Boston’s Suffolk University.
In the GOP primary poll, Romney was followed by Sarah Palin (12 percent), Newt Gingrich (9 percent), Rudy Giuliani (7 percent), Rep. Ron Paul (5 percent), Rep. Michele Bachmann (4 percent), Herman Cain (4 percent), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (4 percent), Tim Pawlenty (3 percent), and Rick Santorum (3 percent), with 20 percent undecided. Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, and Buddy Roemer all received less than 1 percent. [See a slide show of GOP 2012 contenders.]
While good news for Romney and the larger GOP field, the new telephone poll of 1,070 likely voters conducted May 10-17 is a wake-up call for Obama. Some 57 percent say the country is on the wrong track, and 48 percent say it’s time to put somebody else in the White House.
But, proof that the public is politically confused and apparently not wowed by the GOP field, they agree with most pundits in saying that Obama will be re-elected. Asked if they thought Obama would win re-election, 46 percent said yes while 37 percent said one of the GOP candidates would beat him. [Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]
Among the other interesting results: Most think a woman will be elected in 2016, and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly is the most trusted TV journalist of 28 offered. CNN’s Anderson Cooper was second.
Below are the favorable ratings for key political figures, including GOP candidates, most of whom the public hasn’t heard of yet:
President Obama, 51 percent favorable-42 percent unfavorable.
Mitt Romney, 39-32
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, 10-14
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 59-33
Tim Pawlenty, 18-16
Newt Gingrich, 29-50
Rep. Michele Bachmann, 20-28
Donald Trump, 18-70
Rep. Ron Paul, 24-34
Mike Huckabee, 41-30
Sarah Palin, 31-58
Rick Santorum, 15-21
Vice President Biden, 44-41
House Speaker John Boehner, 26-30
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 18-40