Thursday, January 12, 2012

Challenging the assertion that only Romney can beat Obama and that Ron Paul is "unelectable"

See Update at bottom.

This one frustrates the hell out of me. I hate the label of "unelectable" or the consensus that "only Romney can beat Obama". Just ruffles my feathers.

However, recently, PPP released a poll that pitted Romney against Obama that intrigued me. What was interesting about it was that in this one, unlike other's I've seen, they included 3rd party candidates (which is a more realistic representation of what the general election will look like). The results were fascinating.

Initially, in a plain head-to-head, Romney (47%) actually beats Obama (45%) whereas Paul  (41%) loses to Obama (46%).

However, once you introduce the 3rd party candidates, everything blows up. Romney loses significant portions of voters to 3rd party candidates - and much more than Obama and Romney loses in virtually every scenario. Paul and Trump actually take nearly 20% of the vote and the lionshare of that comes out of  Romney's numbers. More analysis here with more numbers, but I encourage you to take a look at the poll itself.

Now, those of us that are supporting Ron Paul recognize why this is. Many of us would rather remain consistent to our principles and vote for the person that best represents us over Romney, even if that means that the dreaded Democrat [scary voice] were to win. However, if Ron Paul won the nomination, not only would most of the right/Republicans support him (especially if their primary desire is just to beat Obama), but so would his ardent base of libertarians, as well as many Independents and a large number of democrats. Plus, it is possible (or even very likely, depending on the source) that if Ron Paul were to get the nomination, that the likely Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson would bow out and endorse Paul.

In my opinion, because of the realities of 3rd party candidates, Ron Paul has a better chance of beating Barack Obama than Mitt Romney.

So, what I would like to do is to commission another, similar poll to be done. This time, let's see the effect of 3rd party candidates when Ron Paul is the Republican candidate. If this poll were to come back and show that Ron Paul loses fewer voters to 3rd party candidates than Romney, it could go a long way to demonstrate Ron Paul's electability. And not just that, but showing that it would be better than Romney's.

Imagine what that could do to the race and how it might shift some voters over - especially when, according to exit polls, nearly half of Romney's supporters are voting for him because of his electability and ability to "beat Obama".

So either encourage the Ron Paul campaign to commission such a poll, or recommend it to the PPP (or other pollsters) themselves.

Update 1/25: On Jan 17th, Public Policy Polling released another poll that shows that even when including Gary Johnson as Libertarian candidate, Romney loses significantly to Obama (7pts).

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