Tags: Pollster | McLaughlin | GOP | Candidate | Obama

Pollster McLaughlin: GOP Must Settle on Candidate to Beat Obama

By    |   Friday, 25 November 2011 06:10 PM

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are improving steadily, and the Republicans need to rally around one candidate if they hope to beat him, GOP pollster John McLaughlin tells Newsmax.TV.

After falling, Obama’s approval rating has rebounded to 47 percent, while 51 percent still disapprove of his job performance. Although the numbers show he is vulnerable, they are drastically changed from this time last year, when his approval ratings were in the 60 percent range, McLaughlin said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.

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“It seems to be a steady improvement of his approval ratings,” the pollster said. “If I was the Republicans, I’d be worried.”

The Republicans’ big problem is that no one candidate stands out as their standard-bearer. “You cannot beat someone with no one,” McLaughlin said. “You absolutely have to have a good candidate.”

Newt Gingrich has been climbing in the GOP polls, but while the former House speaker’s experience is a plus, he’s never been particularly beloved.

“He’s the smartest person in the class,” McLaughlin said.

In the debates, Gingrich consistently has shown himself to be the most knowledgeable on policy and foreign affairs. “He’s really in touch with the Republican mainstream,” McLaughlin said. “His fault has always been that they really don’t like him as a person.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has never been able to jump out in front on his own steam, McLaughlin said. “Mitt Romney, he’s kind of wasted the last two years. He’s been the anointed front-runner while the president’s numbers are declining, but Mitt Romney has not been able to capitalize on this,” McLaughlin said. “He needs to get more aggressive.”

Overall, McLaughlin sees the GOP contest as a “blind date situation” in which Republican voters hope to be matched up with a candidate they can get excited about. They flirted with Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former businessman Herman Cain, but second looks at each candidate have dampened their enthusiasm.

That’s what happened in Cain’s case in particular, McLaughlin said.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s “strong libertarian” principles tend to work against him on national security issues, McLaughlin said, citing Iran as an example.
Although Paul “doesn’t think we should get involved” in Iran’s business, most Americans consider the Islamic republic’s nuclear ambitions a threat the president can’t ignore, the pollster said.

Bachmann’s support has been waning after her big win in the Iowa Straw Poll in August. If she doesn’t place first or second in the Iowa caucuses, she’s dead in the water, McLaughlin said. “She’s from Iowa. She won the straw poll. She set herself strong expectations there,” he said.

Although Perry’s popularity soared when he entered the race, it took a deep dive soon thereafter. But McLaughlin said Perry could still make a comeback.

“As governor of Texas, he has the monetary resources,” McLaughlin said. Perry’s conservative values appeal to many GOP voters, but many have dismissed him as a weaker imitation of George W. Bush. “He has to become his own person,” McLaughlin said.

As always in a recession candidate, conditions are right for a third-party candidate to throw his hat into the ring, McLaughlin said. Paul could always campaign as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win the Republican nomination, McLaughlin said.

He also pointed to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, as a potential third-party candidate.

And although Donald Trump has already flirted with and rejected the possibility of running, McLaughlin refuses to count the real estate mogul out.

“Donald Trump would be a formidable third-party candidate,” McLaughlin said.

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President Barack Obama s approval ratings are improving steadily, and the Republicans need to rally around one candidate if they hope to beat him, GOP pollster John McLaughlin tells Newsmax.TV. After falling, Obama s approval rating has rebounded to 47 percent, while 51...
Friday, 25 November 2011 06:10 PM
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