Mitt Romney, dominating polls of potential Republican presidential candidates, is privately saying he won't take another run for the White House in 2016, pollster John Zogby said Tuesday.
Speaking on the "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV,
Zogby, chief executive officer of Zogby Analystics and founder of the Zogby Poll, said both Romney and Bush are "right at the top" of recent surveys, benefiting from their powerful name recognition with voters.
"Republicans do normally nominate the heir apparent or the gold watch candidate, the one that's been around for the longest time," Zogby said. "We go way back on that, one back to Richard Nixon in 1960 and in 1968. Now, we have two legitimate heirs to the throne and a Republican tradition."
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The latest poll from Townhall and Gravis Marketing shows Romney garnering an impressive 21 percent of Iowa Republican voters – and topping the possible GOP presidential field, The Hill reports.
It may not matter, Zogby said.
"A very prominent conservative Republican consultant called me last night and said that he spoke to Ann Romney over the weekend and Ann said if Mitt runs, he will run as the first divorced Mormon candidate for the president of the United States," Zogby said.
"She is sending out the word at least privately that he's not running. We got two interesting developments here – whether he runs or he doesn't run."
But if the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee decides to toss his hat in the ring, as he has said he's "seriously considering,"
both his and Bush's rivalry for the same base of voters – and donors – "makes it really interesting," Zogby added.
"You've got five or six candidates that can actually win Iowa and Iowa is always important as a table setter," he said. "You're going to have a cluster of candidates and … Bush and Romney tend to cannibalize each other in terms of their base. That is something that may have to be resolved well before one year from today."
Zogby also predicted foreign policy will play a big role in 2016 presidential politics.
"You'll have two different worldviews," he said. "The Democratic worldview is much more multi-polar and working in conjunction with allies, although it's always hard to know precisely where Hillary Clinton stands on anything." Clinton has not yet officially declared her candidacy.
On the Republican side, he notes, "there's going to be a battle for the heart and soul of the party," pitting the "isolationist, anti-free trade" proponents against "neocons on the flip side and somewhere in the middle, you're going to have Jeb and Mitt with a strong, but a more modulated voice...."
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