WASHINGTON (AP) — If polls show one thing with certainty, it’s that Republicans aren’t sold on Mitt Romney and they’ve been looking for other presidential candidates.

At least eight other Republicans have seen their standings soar in GOP primary surveys since the beginning of the year.

Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani didn’t run. Nor did Donald Trump. And among those who actually got in the race, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now, Herman Cain all have sat near– or at — the top of national polls, at least briefly.

The indecisiveness is a reflection on Romney, who hasn’t been able to lock up the GOP’s support even though he’s essentially been running for president since losing his 2008 bid.

Many Republicans know him. They just don’t love him.

A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that 64 percent of conservative Republicans viewed Romney favorably but only 20 percent had deeply positive opinions about him.

“The GOP is in a rebellious and ultraconservative mood,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. “And,” he added, “Mitt Romney is not rebellious.”

Or, for that matter, ultraconservative.

Consider that in a Tuesday debate, Romney defended the 2008-2009 Wall Street bailout that irks the tea party and declared that he could work with “good” Democrats. He also gave one of his most spirited defenses of his health care initiative when he was Massachusetts governor, legislation that President Barack Obama has called a partial blueprint for his own national overhaul.

While those positions may make him appealing to a wider swath of Americans in next fall’s election, they greatly disturb conservatives who dominate the GOP primary electorate.

And that helps explain why some Republicans have been itching for someone else.

Generally, Republicans say that Romney has more experience and a better chance to beat Obama next fall than anyone else in the field. But those on the party’s right flank doubt whether he — more so than other candidates — shares their values.

Conservatives in the potential Republican electorate were deeply divided on that question in a CBS News/New York Times poll early this month. Only 12 percent chose Romney, while nearly half picked Cain (20 percent), Bachmann (18 percent) or Perry (11 percent).

Such divisions have been the most defining factor of the race so far.

It’s not just Romney who has failed to solidify his support with the Republican primary electorate. None of the other candidates who have risen in polls has been able to, either.

Until now, Republicans have been bouncing from candidate to candidate — and even some noncandidates — in search of the perfect nominee.

But with the GOP field set and no more people flirting with bids, it’s entirely possible that Republicans will rally behind one candidate — perhaps even Romney — between now and January when the first votes are cast.

Indeed, a host of Republicans — 76 percent in a recent CBS-New York Times poll — said it was too early to say who they would support when voting begins in January. Just 19 percent said they had firmly chosen a candidate.

The volatile race is taking place in a dramatically different Republican Party than the one that nominated John McCain — and for much of the 2008 race strongly favored the thrice-married Giuliani.

The GOP fell out of public favor following McCain’s loss to Obama. It then rebounded with the growth of the tea party movement, which helped Republicans win control of the House and boost its ranks in the Senate last year.

Today’s Republican Party is more conservative.

“The most visible shift in the political landscape since … 2005 is the emergence of a single bloc of across-the-board conservatives,” the Pew Center said earlier this year.

And those conservatives — at least at this point — seem reluctant to continue a trend that’s been the hallmark of Republican presidential primaries in recent decades.

The Republican Party usually has chosen a nominee who has been the perceived next in line.

Ronald Reagan lost once before winning the 1980 nomination. George H.W. Bush got beat that year, became Reagan’s vice president and won the GOP nod in 1988. Bob Dole lost twice before becoming the party favorite in 1996. And McCain made a strong run at the nomination in 2000 before clinching it eight years later.

This year, it’s Romney who is making his second bid.

And, if history is a guide, he’s the most likely to end up winning the nomination — even if the all-over-the-map polls don’t show it.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (23)
  1. Luke says:

    Demacrats should chime in on who they like as the GOP nominee will be the next president.

    1. Tom says:


      Instead of worrying of who you think will not be the next GOP President you should worry about your spelling. It is spelled DEMOCRATS.

      1. Luke says:

        You obviously understood what I said so isn’t that the point in communicating or are you that shallow that you need to point out a ‘typo’.

        1. Jake says:


          I refuse to read the content of your message until you properly place a question mark at the end.

  2. Squirrel says:

    The American people want Ron Paul and the crokked elite politicians with the help of the media wants Romney

    1. Tom says:

      @ Squirrel

      Ron Paul will not get the nomination!

  3. middle of the road says:

    Is the GOP struggling with finding someone who isn’t a bigot? No. They are embracing diversity though as one of the bigots is black. Nice.

  4. Carl says:

    Was Obama the front runner at this time in his campaign in 2007? Nope.

  5. Julie says:

    Who ever the RNC pick will be, he or she will be running against the worst president in the history of the US.
    Where are the stories concerning the criminal investigatiions on Solyndra and Fast and Furious? Laws had been broken. Coverup attempts are now coming to light. Billions of tax payer money laundering took place. Nothing from this media source. President O administration makes watergate look like a walk in the park.

    1. dan says:

      Great points Julie!

      1. Tarts says:

        brilliant points Julie…. what ya pillin’ and poppin’ today? share now huh

    2. Tom says:

      @ Julie

      You are obviously a very delusional conservative. Calling Obama the worst President in History when the majority of the country knows the WORST President in history was George Bush from 2000 -2008.

      Did you call for an investigation for the lies we were told to get us into Iraq? Outing Valerie Plame, Halliburton.

      Not to mention two wars, tax cuts, and other things that were NOT paid for.

      Conservatives got us in the current mess we are in now!

      1. Cindy says:

        You are going to get sick if you keep gulping the dem kool-aid. Nothing you said has any merit what so ever.

        1. Tom says:

          @ Cindy

          Instead of getting your info from FOX NEWS and or Conservative talk radio and neither one is ever right try something called “googling”. Then comeback to me. My guess is that when you find out that what the REAL truth is.

        2. Me says:

          You know, we all have our party lines and like to bend the truth but Bush’s failings are numerous and undeniable. Valerie Plame’s career as an undercover agent is over. Medicare part D not paid for. Two wars, one started on lies, neither paid for nor added into the deficit under Bush. The lack of response to Katrina. The list goes on.

    3. Grabage in and out - nuttin' new says:

      You don’t read a paper or online much now, do ya Julie. LMAO
      It’s all there and it’s a coming. That said – Obama may be or may not be directly involved. The layers are there before him.
      Do some research and some digging. Might start in the early 80’s at that when Ronnie was in office. This chit is and has been ongoing in every administration. Business as usual in DC
      I damn near am changing my long held views on Slick Willie. A sexual perv he may have been but as far as his administration – they looking cleaner by the day. Ain’t that a fun fact …. and I’m a right winged white male. 😉

      1. Bart says:

        Like his pardon of Mark Rich, the biggest tax cheat in the history of our country. He partnered up with Eric Holder on that little jewel.

        1. @ lil' Barty says:

          Good point – he was just a copy cat of the previous Rep’s in Office. Nothing original from Willie.
          It’s always better to just turn the cheek on the crooks you have and be done. Now just wait until the next GOP bs’er is elected _ he’ll not just pardon but if it’s Cain, toss back another 20% in freebies to those that not only don’t need it but many don’t want it. They got enough brains to see the collapse,,,100% certain … to follow of America as we always have known it. Bart likes —- well, you are simple Simpson’s and dumb as bricks. lol

          1. sid says:

            You are a little hard to follow, maybe wait until mom gets home to help you structure a coherent sentence.

            1. Hartman's warp says:

              lmao – good one STD’s …. how’s the rest of the senile Hartman clan?

  6. Tom says:

    The only way that Romney will get the nomination is if the GOP / Tea Party can convince the nutty and very delusional social conservatives to bit their tongues and back Romney. But that will never happen as Social Conservatives view Mormonism as a cult. Well if social conservatives are going to call Mormonism then they should consider themselves in a cult as well. Mormonisn is just form of organized religion. But when they shoot down Romney they got nobody to choose from. But the other thing is that the GOP / Tea Party don’t want an extreme right candidate to get the endorsement because they know moderates / independents will not vote for extreme right nutjob. If they thought they would they would have backed the biggest nutjobs of them all Palin or Bachmann.

    1. sad says:

      LMAO – so they conceding it to Obama then ???
      That is in essence what it would do – I would NOT ever vote for the other options and will just not vote. Many will likely do the same. That cannot be good for the GOP
      Bring on 2016 I guess

  7. Tom says:

    @ Sad

    Right now the majority of conservatives DO NOT like their choices of GOP / Tea Party candidates. When this process started Palin was the favorite, then it was Bachmann, then Perry, and now Caine. They are trying to build a momentum behind Romney and the social conservatives are not biting. But you what the strange thing is if all these GOP / Tea Party smell blood and think that Obama is that beatable why aren’t bigger names jumping in the race?

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