Politics

Santorum Is Middle of the Road on GOP Recognition, Intensity

by Frank Newport

Neither his recognition nor his positive intensity stands out among potential GOP contenders

PRINCETON, NJ -- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee last week, is recognized by 43% of Republicans nationwide. He has a Gallup Positive Intensity Score of 13, average across the 14 potential GOP candidates Gallup tracks.

Potential GOP Candidate Images Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents, April 4-17, 2011

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann continue to have the highest Positive Intensity Scores among Republicans who recognize them, at 24 and 22, respectively, in Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted April 4-17.

2011 Trend: Positive Intensity Scores, Potential Candidates for 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin follows with a Positive Intensity Score of 17, while a large group of potential candidates have slightly lower scores between 13 and 15. This group includes Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Georgia businessman Herman Cain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Santorum. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels trail, with Positive Intensity Scores of 10 and 8, respectively, while former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has a score of 0 and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer is the lowest of the group, with a score of -1.

The most recognized potential Republican candidates are Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich, and Romney -- each known by more than 8 in 10 Republicans. Paul is recognized by 72% and Bachmann by 56%. All other candidates have name identifications below 50%. (Complete data for the April 4-17 interviewing period follow on page 2.)

2011 Trend: Name Recognition of Potential Candidates for 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

The Latest on Selected Potential GOP Candidates

Bachmann's name recognition has increased to 56%, up from 52% in late February/early March. She is the 6th-best-known Republican out of the 14 tested. Bachmann's Positive Intensity Score of 22 is her highest to date, and is second only to Huckabee's 24. She is one of only two sitting members of Congress among the list of possible GOP candidates, and has been visiting early and important Republican primary states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Some political observers assume that Romney is a leading candidate to gain the GOP nomination, but the former Massachusetts governor to date is not generating signs of an unusually strong following among Republicans who know him. His Positive Intensity Score of 15 puts him in a large group of generally less well-known candidates, and is tied for his lowest to date.

Palin's 96% recognition score makes her the best known of any candidate tested. Her Positive Intensity Score of 17 is third highest among all Republicans tested, behind only Huckabee's and Bachmann's. Palin has not announced that she is running for president, although she has raised her profile in recent days with a fiery speech in Wisconsin and the re-launching of her political action committee's website.

Pawlenty let it slip last week that he will be a presidential candidate, although he has not yet made an official announcement to that effect. Pawlenty, like Santorum, has a lower profile than other potential candidates at this point; both are known to only 43% of Republicans. Pawlenty has a Positive Intensity Score of 13.

Gingrich, known by 84% of Republicans, now has a Positive Intensity Score of 14, his lowest to date.

Huckabee continues to generate the highest positive intensity of any of the candidates Gallup tracks, although his margin above Michele Bachmann is now only two points. Huckabee maintains high visibility as a result of his Fox News television program and his recent book tour that brought him to some of the key early primary states. Still, he has yet to show any public signs of preparing a presidential organization or announcing an official run for the presidency.

Gallup will continue to track the potential GOP field over the coming months, publishing frequent updates. Sign up for our Election 2012 e-mail alerts and RSS feeds to stay up to date.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking April 4-17, 2011, with random samples of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Questions asking about the 14 potential candidates measured in this research were rotated among randomly selected samples of Republicans each night; over the 14-day period, each candidate was rated by a minimum of 1,500 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

For the overall ratings of each potential candidate among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, including recognition scores, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. For the Positive Intensity Score for each candidate, the maximum margin of sampling error varies depending on the size of the group recognizing the candidate.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone-only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

Republican Candidate Images: Complete Data, April 4-17, 2011

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