Rasmussen: Ron Paul Presidential Bid Would Hurt Obama

Tuesday, 08 May 2012 11:30 AM

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Texas Congressman Ron Paul appears more interested in influencing the direction of the Republican Party than in running as an independent presidential candidate. But perhaps Democrats should be careful what they wish for: Even if Mitt Romney’s remaining GOP challenger should run as a third party candidate, new Rasmussen Reports surveying finds Romney the winner of a three-way race.

Thirty percent believe Paul is at least somewhat likely to run as a third party presidential candidate, but that includes only 6 percent who feel it’s very likely. Fifty-two percent think an independent Paul candidacy is unlikely, with 13 percent who say it’s not at all likely. Eighteen percent aren’t sure.

Only 12 percent of Republicans think Paul should run independently, compared to 34 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties. Voters in Paul’s party are more likely to believe he won’t run as an independent.

Sixty percent of those who plan to vote for Romney have a favorable opinion of Paul, compared to 32 percent of likely Obama voters.

However, just 9 percent of Romney voters think Paul should run as an independent versus 39 percent of Obama voters who feel that way.

Yet despite apparent Democratic hopes that a Paul candidacy might cut into Romney’s total, the likely Republican nominee is the winner of a three-way race if the election were held right now. Given that match-up, Romney earns 44 percent support to President Obama’s 39 percent. Paul runs a distant third with 13 percent of the vote. Two percent like some other candidate, and another 2 percent are undecided.

Just over 80 percent of Republican and Democratic voters support their party’s candidate. Paul picks up 11 percent of GOP voters and 5 percent of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, it’s Romney 37 percent, Obama 31 percent, Paul 23 percent.

The latest national telephone survey shows that 25 percent of likely U.S. voters think Paul should run as a third-party candidate. Sixty-one percent disagree, but 13 percent more are not sure.

The national survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on May 6-7, 2012, by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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