Republican Voters Show Growing Enthusiasm

Posted: Jan 09, 2012 11:57 PM
A new Pew poll reveals that, over the past few months, Republican voters have become more excited about their choices for the nomination. In fact, their enthusiasm is at its highest point yet in the campaign cycle.

That doesn't, however, mean that voters are on the whole entirely excited about the possibilities. Attitudes are roughly similar to Democrats' in 2004.

the continued lackluster ratings offered by Republicans this year track more closely with how Democrats viewed their options in early 2004.

In January of that year, just 47% of Democratic voters felt the field of candidates was excellent or good; as many (47%) said the candidates were only fair or poor.

In the current survey, conservative Republicans and GOP-leaning independents express more positive opinions of the presidential field than do moderates or liberals (56% excellent or good vs. 43%). In January 2008, 70% of conservatives and 64% of moderates and liberals said the GOP candidates as a group were excellent or good.

These don't seem to be good numbers for Republican candidates. Another poll is out now that also paints Mitt Romney as the strongest against Barack Obama.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a two-point lead against President Obama in a potential general election matchup, according to a new CBS News poll.

The survey found that Romney is the only GOP candidate to hold a lead over the president in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, though Texas Rep. Ron Paul trails by just one point.

The interesting thing about this poll? Ron Paul is the candidate that attracts the greatest amount of "independent" support out of all the hypothetical candidates, including Barack Obama.

We'll see if anything that happens in New Hampshire (or, more likely, South Carolina) upsets the apple cart or unites the GOP behind a more exciting candidate, but these are certainly some numbers to take into account.