Gallup: GOP Contenders Come Closer To American Views

Here’s something we all intrinsically know, and knew prior to the 2008 election: Americans are center-right, and the GOP’s viewpoints are closer to their own than what Obama pushes

(Gallup) Americans perceive Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul as closest to themselves ideologically, and Michele Bachmann and Barack Obama as furthest away.

A USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to rate their own ideology — and the ideology of the eight major presidential candidates — on a 5-point scale with 1 being very liberal and 5 being very conservative. Americans’ mean score on this scale is 3.3, meaning the average American is slightly to the right of center ideologically. Huntsman’s score matches that at 3.3, but that mean rating excludes the 45% of Americans who did not have an opinion of Huntsman. Of the better known candidates, Romney’s and Paul’s 3.5 scores are closest to the average American’s ideology.

Obama scores a 2.3, the furthest from the mean score. Even Michelle Bachmann scores better at 4.0. Of course, does this really mean anything?

If Americans chose their president solely on the basis of the fit between their own ideological views and their perceptions of the candidates’ views, Huntsman, Romney, and Paul would be in the best position for the 2012 election. While a close ideological fit is clearly a political asset, many other factors go into selecting a president, including evaluations of national conditions, such as the economy, the performance of the president and his party, and the platform each candidate is running on.

Indeed, Obama’s mean ideology rating four years ago was 2.5, essentially the same as now, and he was perceived to be slightly more liberal (with a score of 2.2) immediately before the election. Americans’ own ideology ratings in December 2007 (3.2) and October 2008 (3.3) were essentially the same as now, and closer to John McCain’s (3.4 in December 2007 and 3.7 in October 2008) than Obama’s.

American’s knew he was a far left progressive prior to the election, and the independents and some ultra-squishy Republicans voted for him (as well as a big get out the vote campaign for Obama, particularly young people who were able to vote for the first time). Obama’s hopey changey kumbaya “I’ll give you free stuff and take care of you” talk did the trick. Also, John McCain imploding with his “I’m suspending my campaign” pandering then failing to force a good TARP bill. The question for 2012 is: can Obama dupe Americans into voting him in for a 2nd term, after the disaster his first term was?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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