Tales from the Trail

Reuters/Ipsos poll: Potential Republican candidates not quite household names

March 9, 2011

At least they know his name.

USA

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating fell to 49 percent in March from 51 percent in February, and dropped among independent voters to 37 percent from 47 percent over the same period, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Separate from their view on Obama’s job performance, a majority of Americans — 55 percent — had a favorable opinion of the president personally, according to the poll. That number was unchanged from December, when the question was last asked.

Potential Republican candidates who may seek to challenge Obama in the 2012 presidential race have their work cut out in the name recognition department.

The survey asked the same favorability question about Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Of the three, Gingrich had the best name recognition, with 26 percent replying “don’t know” when asked for an overall opinion of him. Pawlenty has the biggest challenge, with 59 percent saying they don’t know what they think of him — including  57 percent among Republicans. Romney was in the middle with 32 percent who don’t know about him.

“The leader ratings show that all of these potential Republican candidates have work to do in terms of raising their profiles with the American public,” Ipsos pollsters said.

The potential Republican candidate with the most favorable rating was Romney at 36 percent, followed closely by Gingrich at 35 percent and trailed by Pawlenty at 22 percent. Gingrich was the only one of the three whose total unfavorability rating was higher at 38 percent, than his favorability rating.

House Speaker John Boehner also is not quite a household name, with 40 percent saying they don’t know what to think of him. That compares with 3 percent who said the same about Obama.

The poll of 1,040 adults was conducted March 3-6 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama in Boston, March 8))

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