Half of Republicans have no impression of Rick Santorum

Manmouth Poll Dec14In a recent Manmouth University poll, Republican voters were asked whom they would prefer to see as the Republican nominee without being given a list of names. As you can see, Mitt Romney is currently tied for the lead with “No one.”

What’s incredible here, other than the fact that “Undecided”, “No one”, and someone who’s not running make up the top three, is that Rick Santorum only gets 1% support. 20% of Republican primary voters (~ 4 million people) made their way to the polling booth to vote for Santorum less than two years ago. He won 11 states! Santorum, who already acts like he has a chip on his shoulder over everything, has got to be madder than a Baptist at a jazz concert. This compared to 48% support for Clinton among Democratic voters, who also finished second in the last competitive primary.

If you dive into the numbers it only gets worse for Santorum. 28% view him favorably and a whopping 51% have “no opinion” whatsoever. These are worse numbers than those for Ben Carson, a guy who has never won a statewide office and has only done a handful of TV interviews. One would have thought Santorum would be the guy to beat, since there’s a long tradition of Republicans rallying behind the “next in line.” In fact, since the second world war the GOP was been quite predictable as to whom they will eventually nominate at the convention. I put together a little flowchart that predicts the outcomes of those 17 races, and includes the candidates it predicts to be strong in 2016.

GOP nominationThe line of succession argument favors blood over performance and ideology and predicts Jeb Bush as the 2016 nominee. But it also highlights the potential of Rick Santorum, whom many primary voters have already supported, and Rand Paul, who will have strong libertarian pull with a Democrat in the White House. But should Rick Santorum really be counted as one of the top three contenders if he can’t even muster an opinion from half of Republicans? Luckily for him the race starts with Iowa, a state with many religious conservatives and one he carried in 2012. However, this time he’ll need to run a national campaign, and given the last thing Santorum wants the GOP electorate to do is Google his name, it’s going to be an uphill fight for the supposed next in line.