Mitt Romney, the supposed front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, would be trounced in a head-to-head race against either of two yet unannounced GOP candidates, Rick Perry and Chris Christie, a new IBOPE Zogby/Newsmax poll reveals.
In the survey of nearly 1,000 likely Republican primary voters, New Jersey Gov. Christie gets a resounding 62 percent of the vote to Romney’s 19 percent, with the remaining 19 percent not sure.
Texas Gov. Perry gets 55 percent of the vote when matched against former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, who receives 22 percent, with 23 percent not sure.
“No matter which way you look at this, Romney’s candidacy has holes within the core Republican base,” pollster John Zogby tells Newsmax. “In simple head-to-head matchups against the two non-candidates, he gets drubbed.”
Significantly, 62 percent of likely GOP primary voters who say they are independents support Christie, and 59 percent support Perry, according to the poll that ended on Tuesday.
Moderates back Christie, 58 percent to 28 percent, and conservatives support the New Jersey governor 65 percent to 17 percent. Romney comes out on top only among liberals, who give him 38 percent of their votes to Christie’s 22 percent.
Moderates do prefer Romney over Perry, 46 percent to 37 percent, and 58 percent of liberals say they would back Romney compared to just 3 percent for Perry. Conservatives strongly support Perry, 62 percent to 16 percent.
Interestingly, Romney does poorest against Christie among likely GOP primary voters age 18 to 29, with just 7 percent of the vote, and strongest among those age 30 to 49 with 23 percent. Against Perry, on the other hand, Romney is strongest among the 18 to 29 group, with 25 percent, and weakest among those 30 to 49 with 21 percent.
Christie beats Romney among all income levels, religions, and races, and both genders. Romney edges Perry only among those earning $25,000 a year or less, and those who say their religion is “Other/None.”
Against both Christie and Perry, Romney gets only about 20 percent of the vote from respondents who say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Romney’s beating is “across the board,” John Zogby declares.
“For example, against Christie it is 65 percent to 19 percent among Republicans and 62 to 18 among Republican-voting independents; among likely tea party supporters — who are two in three likely Republican primary voters — it is 70 to 15; married voters, 60 to 21; investors, 71 to 16; Born Again/Evangelicals, 67 to 17, and so on.
“And there is no real difference in Romney’s head-to-heads with Perry.
Now there are caveats, of course. Romney is polling well in New Hampshire and conservatives do not have their candidate yet, which could mean some cannibalizing taking place. But Romney’s is a vulnerable candidacy. He does well when he is matched against the existing field, but his problem is that either one of these conservative giants can potentially knock him out.
“Why? While Republicans have a tradition of nominating the next in line over the years, this year there is anger from the right. A solid component of those independents are jaded conservatives turned off by spending, wars, and big government.
“In addition, perhaps it doesn’t pay this year to say ‘I am the one who has experience.’ Republican voters may be looking for something fresh, uncompromising, an alternative governing model, the un-Obama. That seems to favor Christie – or at least someone not currently in the field.
“It’s too soon to draw conclusions. We have to see who gets in and how they run. But these numbers are sufficient to make the two unknowns rethink about running – as well as Romney bite his fingernails.”
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