CNN Poll Finds That Republicans Choose Victory Over Ideology in 2012

Bookmark and Share Newly released results from a CNN/Opinion Research Poll has Republicans placing Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney at the top of their list of preferred candidates to run against President Obama. The poll has Huckabee the choice of 21 percent of those surveyed, while Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney are preferred by 19 and 18 percent, respectively.

Of course it is looking more and more like Mike Huckabee will not be running and the chances of Sarah Palin getting in to the race are at still best 50/50. On top of that, other names will in fact be running and many of them have the ability to put forth campaigns thatwill will havea surprising capacity tocapture the imagination and hopes of Republican voters who are seeking to defeat President Obama, and find a hero who can help advance the cause of conservatism in a way similar to that of Ronald Reagan.

But aside from who this unreliable early polls suggests the Republican presidential nominee will be, the CNN/Opinion Research poll apparently shows that while 29% of G.O.P. voters believe ideology is important, a whopping 70% find simply defeating President Obama as the most important factor in selecting the Partys nominee. Hey, didn’t Mitch McConnell say that? According to CNN About 70 percent say they would prefer someone with a good chance of victory to someone they agree with on most important issues.

Those finding contradict the findings of a recent White House 2012 poll which asked what Republicans felt was the most important characteristic or ability they wanted in the nominee. As noted in when announcing the results of that poll:

It is interesting to see the apparent desire of Republicans to be more concerned with beating President Obama with someone who they believe can properly deal with the issues most important to them, rather than just beating him for the sake of winning. In this poll, Republicans put little importance on the appeal of a candidate in regards to winning over independent voters or being considered an articulate orator as President Obama was considered.

Of course the question askedin the White House 2012 and CNN/Opinion Research Poll were phrased quite differently and the differing way the question is asked makes all the difference. But it is my belief that in 2012, Republicans, with the help of TEA movement activists, will be much more principled than CNN suggests. The White House 2012 poll found that the most important thing they are looking for in choosing a nominee is their being fiscally conservative. And behind that was the desire for the nominee to be a strict constitutionalist. Together, those two priorities accounted for the opinion of more than half of the respondents, or 53%. At the same time, only 14% of respondents chose as their priority, qualities or abilities that would account strictly for the purposeof electability alone.

While I am sure that Republicans do not want to see President Obama elected to a second term and will therefore not allow themselves to nominate a dud like John McCain, I am also pretty sure that ideology will play a large part in who the nominee will ultimately be. In fact, I believe that in the end, the G.O.P. will nominate one of its most conservative presidential candidates since Barry Goldwater in 1964.

The only real question is whether it will be a conservative who can broaden the appeal of conservatism as Ronald Reagan did in his 1980 and ’84 campaigns, or preach to the choir as Barry Goldwater did in his campaign.

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