No Obvious 2016 Republican Leader In Sight; Romney/Ryan Still Haunted By ‘The 47%’

Elephant Tea -- illustration by Mario Piperni

Illustration by Mario Piperni.

A new Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll indicates that the Republican base has not yet settled on a standard-bearer to carry their cause into the 2016 Presidential race. Which is surprising, because usually, in conservative circles, there’s someone waiting impatiently backstage, barely able to wait for the previous sacrificial goat’s corpse to cool before leaping forward to take up the sacred charge.

Before we get to that, though, note that someone up there must have a serious sense of humor, because once again, Romney and Ryan got pinned with another “47%” number. This time, it was the percentage of poll respondents who viewed them favorably. Is anyone else starting to suspect that they got the number right, but the premise wrong – and that it’s the delusional Teapublican base that will vote for any nominally “conservative” person the right puts forward, no matter what?

Note, too, that the number who view Romney and Ryan favorably is two percent lower than the number of Republicans who believe that ACORN, an organization that has been defunct for four years, stole the election for Obama. Even patently false conservative myths garner more support than Romney does, the poor sap.

Meanwhile, in forward-looking news, none of the Republican potentials for 2016 who have currently percolated up in the conservative blathersphere have much public support. Poor John Boehner. Only 29% of the public, according to the poll, has a positive opinion of him. Astonishingly, almost as many people have never heard of him, in spite of all the “fiscal cliff” hysteria and the fact that he appears on Fox News almost hourly, in one capacity or another. Senator Marco Rubio does a bit better. One third of poll respondents like him, just slightly less than the number who don’t have a clue who he is.

The best bet, according to the poll, is Jeb Bush. He gets a positive nod from 39% of poll respondents, 5 points higher than his negative rating. Still, even Republican pollster Ed Goeas, who helped conduct the poll, notes that “The reason why Jeb Bush didn’t run this year is because he knew they were not past the Bush years.” It’s unclear whether or not Jeb realizes it isn’t that the public isn’t past the Bush years, but that we’re not past the Bush name. And, with any luck, itnever will be.

A few interesting things to note about what is not to be found on the poll. Any mention of Sarah Palin, for example. Or The Donald, much to his (if no one else’s) disappointment, I’m sure. Or Newt Gingrich (it’s unknown how much Sheldon Adelson spent to try to swing the poll in Newt’s favor). Obviously, there are four years still to go before 2016 – or, more realistically, two, given how the campaign season seems to be starting ever earlier these days (much like Christmas, which seems to be winning the war supposedly being waged against it).

One final thing to note. Hillary Clinton is viewed favorably by almost twice as many respondents as any of the potential Republican challengers. Looking good, Hillary!

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