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.
- Gallup Guru: Romney is “the only candidate with a more negative than positive ratio”
- Romney has the most negative image at this point of any of the major candidates for president, claims Newport of USA Today’s GallupGuru; the Romney campaign’s death-by-internal-memo part (ii)
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.