Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leading candidates, Republican or Democrat—these findings predict the sudden and fierce backlash against Romney’s negative attacks on other candidates

“Among the leading Presidential candidates, New York Senator Hillary Clinton and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have the highest level of core opposition among voters,” write the pollsters who serve Scott Rasmussen’s Rasmussen Reports in an article titled Clinton and Romney Have Highest Level of Core Opposition Among Leading Candidates

Forty-seven percent (47%) say they will vote against each of these candidates no matter who else is on the ballot.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Arizona Senator John McCain. For the second straight month, McCain finds himself with the smallest level of core opposition–just 33% say they will definitely vote against him. That figure is unchanged from a month ago, down from 39% a two months ago and a peak of 42% in June. These results are just one part of the reason that it is a good time to be John McCain.

In between, 42% will definitely vote against Giuliani, 38% against Edwards, 36% against Obama, 34% against Huckabee, 34% against Thompson.

As for core support, Clinton is also on top. Thirty percent (30%) will definitely vote for her and 29% will definitely vote for Obama. Edwards and Giuliani have core support from 23%, McCain from 22%, Thompson and Huckabee from 21%, and Romney from 19%.

On a net basis (core support minus core opposition), Obama (-7) and McCain (-11) come out on top. Giuliani (-19) and Romney (-28) have the weakest numbers on a net basis.

The Gallup polling predicts Rasmussen’s findings. See:

Here is the problem for Romney: you cannot go negative—negative as in negative advertising—against a rival whose negatives are lower than yours—and no ones negatives—no ones—not even one—are higher than Romney’s, and everyone enjoys higher core support.

If you do go negative against someone whose negatives are lower than yours you risk inflicting more damage on yourself than on your opponent. It is the difference between (a) someone everyone likes accusing you of something, and (b) someone everyone hates accusing you.

In the former case (a) the accuser who is popular may influence the attitudes of others, as others would be more likely to believe the accusations, and fewer people are going to defend you as the risks and costs of defending you are higher.

In the latter case (b) the unpopular accuser will probably influence few if any, and the accuser risks provoking a backlash against himself or herself as others rush to the defense of the injured party—this is because the risks and costs of standing against an unpopular person are lower. This is precisely what is happening right now with Romney. Romney’s negative attacks have produced a fierce backlash.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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  1. 1 Romney’s negative campaigning: is Romney willing to take the party down with him? « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Romney’s negatives are preposterously high, higher than McCain’s. We discuss what it means for someone with high negatives to go negative on an opponent with lower negatives here: Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leadin… […]

  2. 2 the high price Romney pays for his aggressively negative campaigning—blogosphere blogbuzz suggests movement away from both Gov. Huckabee AND the hapless candidate from MA, Romney « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Pass in review. What happens when your own negatives are high and you go negative? You implode. Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leadin… […]

  3. 3 Luntz: “Romney made a ‘big mistake’ by going negative against Huckabee”—how a Faustian Romney rages against the laws of physics « who is willard milton romney?

    […] We have harped on this string for weeks and weeks. You cannot go negative against a rival with lower negatives than yours without doing more damange to yourself than to your opponent. Calling your attack ads “contrast ads” and beginning your personal attacks with “x is an honorable man” fools precisely no one. See: Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leadin… […]

  4. 4 Zogby: “Iowan Republicans may have long ago grown tired of Mr. Romney’s ubiquitous presence. ‘You can advertise too much,’ he said. ‘People get tired of seeing the same old face, and he went negative. Iowans didn’t like

    […] About going negative: it can be effective to go negative provided that your negatives are not higher than your opponent’s, and no one’s negatives are higher than Romney’s. If they are, you lose. Here is where we explain why: Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leadin… […]

  5. 5 exit polls confirm: Romney’s decision to turn viciously negative cost him in New Hampshire « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Um, that may be part of it, but it’s a little more complicated than that: Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leadin… […]

  6. 6 Romney increasingly unhinged and increasingly shrill in final hours before super-duper apocalypse Tuesday « who is willard milton romney?

    […] Here is the problem for Romney: Romney’s icy-cold persona and ultra-high negatives cannot support a negative message. Romney’s own poll numbers crash whenever he does so. Yet here is, again, in person, attempting to slime McCain at the expense of whatever slim chances the GOP may have had in November against Senators Clinton or Obama. Rasmussen Reports: Romney has the least core support, and the most core opposition of all the leadin… […]




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