Editor’s note: This is another in a series of monthly “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Whatever else President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have done over the past two years, they have raised the profile of the Democrat Party – in a negative way. In fact, a new WND/Wenzel Poll reveals that voters like the GOP, take to the tea party just a little less, and end up putting the Democrat Party in third.
Fritz Wenzel conducted the poll Nov. 5-7 with an automated technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide. It contacted 1,656 people, has a confidence interval of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.37 percentage points.
He said the results show “why Republicans made big gains in the congressional elections just past, as they held a historically unusual double-digit advantage over their Democratic Party counterparts.”
“The survey also shows that the tea party movement holds a favorable image among a majority of Americans, revealing why a cadre of high-profile candidates supported by the movement fared well on election day,” he said.
Of those polled, 55 percent held a favorable view of the Republican Party, 51 percent had a favorable opinion of the tea party movement, and only 43 percent had a favorable opinion of Democrats.
“For Democrats, a problem has been among their own base – 15 percent of Democrats said they had a negative opinion of their own party, compared to just 9 percent of Republicans who said the same thing. In an election cycle where small margins made a big difference, this GOP advantage may have meant the flip of several ‘blue dog’ Democratic seats into GOP hands,” Wenzel’s analysis said.
“But there is no question that the underlying power of this election was the energy brought by the tea party movement, and even among Democrats, 24 percent said they held a favorable opinion of the movement. Combine that with the fact that 49 percent of independents had a positive view of the movement … and you begin to understand the historic advantage Republican candidates had,” he said.
The results show regarding the Democrat Party, 44.7 percent of voters held a very unfavorable opinion, and 10.2 percent were somewhat unfavorable. The numbers for the GOP included 27.7 percent very unfavorable and 15 percent somewhat unfavorable. Even among Democrats, 23 percent held a favorable view of the GOP.
Regarding the tea party, 49 percent of independents held a favorable opinion and 24 percent of Democrats held a favorable opinion.
“While this tea party movement enjoys an overall favorable image, it is notable that the advantage is not overwhelming – which could easily explain why some Republican challengers in Democratic Party strongholds were disappointed on election day, including high-profile GOP candidates in Delaware, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state,” Wenzel said.
“Men had a significantly more positive attitude toward the tea party movement than did women – 58 percent of men had a favorable view, while 47 percent of women felt the same way.”
In related questions in the poll, voters preferred former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich to challenge Obama in 2012, with support from 24 percent of Republicans and independents. Mitt Romney is second at 18 percent and Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin are tied at 16 percent.
Among Republicans only, Gingrich holds the support of 30 percent, Romney has 23 percent, Pawlenty has 17 percent and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann moved into fourth place with 14 percent.
Palin was the far-and-away favorite among independents, with 28 percent, followed by Gingrich and Pawlenty with 16 percent each.
“This represents something of a conundrum for potential Republican candidates in that they will have to appeal to Republicans to win the nomination, but they will have to win a substantial percentage of independent voters to defeat Obama in the general election of 2012. With such a split between the preferences of Republicans and independents, this could be the biggest challenge facing the GOP presidential field,” Wenzel said.
He reported among Republicans and independents, 55 percent said it was most important that their next presidential candidate agree with them on issues, while 45 percent said it was most important that the next nominee be able to defeat Obama.
One previous poll indicated that Democrats were asking for a blowout in the 2010 mid-terms, and another found voters believed that Obama’s first term, in terms of accomplishments, already is over.
See detailed results of survey questions:
If the Republican primary or caucus in your state was today and the candidates were Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jim DeMint, Herman Cain, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, and Ron Paul, for whom would you vote?
In the 2012 presidential election, what is going to be more important to you – that the Republican Party nominee agrees with you on most issues, or that the nominee have the best chance to defeat Barack Obama in the general election?