Tag Archives: Ron Paul

Domestic policy: A lack of confidence

Are North Carolinians confident that any of the men running for president can handle the country’s domestic affairs well?

No, not so much.

President Obama gets the highest marks — 38% — but that’s hardly anything to write home about. Here’s how it breaks down:

                                                     Confident                    Little confidence

Barack Obama                            38%                                     44%

Newt Gingrich                            30%                                     50%

Rick Santorum                            29%                                     44%

Mitt Romney                                28%                                     38%

Ron Paul                                        24%                                      45%

Obama is paying for the condition of the economy. With high-and-still-rising gas prices, people are worried. The president has been “in charge” for three years and people are expecting things to be better. Consequently, Obama must be accountable for that. But the GOP contenders aren’t tracking any better. They haven’t been able to explain to North Carolinians in clear, understandable terms how they would turn things around. 

Opportunities abound for the GOP if they can come to North Carolina and spell out an economic policy that resonates with citizens.

(Much of what I wrote in the post about foreign policy immediately below this one applies here, too.)

— John Robinson

Foreign policy: A lack of confidence

North Carolina residents express lukewarm confidence at best in the candidates running for the White House this fall, according to the latest Elon University Poll, though incumbent President Barack Obama receives higher marks for handling both domestic and foreign policy issues than his Republican rivals.

Ain’t that the truth!

While Obama inspires more confidence in his ability to handle foreign policy issues, those who say they have little or no confidence in him is about the same — 42% express confidence vs. 43% that don’t. A statistical tie.

It’s much worse with the GOP contenders.

                                           Confident                     Little confidence

Newt Gingrich                   28%                                 51%

Mitt Romney                      24%                                  41%

Rick Santorum                   22%                                  50%

Ron Paul                               18%                                   55%

By far, Romney has the most people who rate him smack in the middle between “not confident” and “great deal of confidence.” Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said basically that when it comes to handling foreign policy, Romney will do OK.

Obama is polling better for three reasons:

1. He has a foreign policy track record. Bin Laden and other terrorists have been killed during his administration. He spoke out during the Arab Spring. And he grabs the headlines when he talks about Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East. People may not like the positions he takes, but they see how he handles things. Only 2% of the respondents said they didn’t know. (The poll was in the field during the news coverage of Obama’s comment to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about greater “flexibility” on negotiations regarding missile defense after the election.)

2. On the Republican side, people’s political loyalties are dispersed among the four candidates. Once a nominee is selected, the confidence factor will consolidate. And, as ABC reports, Romney sees opportunity to challenge the president.

3. Obama has visited North Carolina almost as often as a tractor-trailer making the weekly Florida to New York run on I95. Republicans have been busy campaigning elsewhere. North Carolinians want to see and hear candidates in person…or at least read that the candidate has come to their part of the state. 

— John Robinson

Wednesday’s trending topics

WisconsinWith just one week until the April 3 Wisconsin presidential primary, the Marquette Law School Poll shows Governor Mitt Romney with a 39 percent to 31 percent lead over Senator Rick Santorum, reversing Santorum’s lead in February polls.

Republicans — Sixty-one percent of Republicans think it’s time for Ron Paul to drop out of the presidential race, and 60% think Newt Gingrich should. Related, Gingrich is curtailing campaign stops — he canceled an N.C. stop this week — and is laying off staff.

Economy — Economic issues, including gas prices, the national debt and unemployment, worry Americans the most.

Big news—  The top story last week was the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Twenty-five percent of Americans said they followed that story more closely than the presidential elections (16%) or the economy (15%).

— John Robinson

North Carolina: Keeping its options open

Two and a half weeks ago, the Elon University Poll asked North Carolinians, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?”

Forty-eight disapproved and 45% approved.

Last week, PPP asked North Carolinians,”Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?”

Forty-nine percent disapproved and 49% approved.

Not much change. With the margins of error, it’s pretty much deadlocked.

Here is a comparison of the Elon Poll and PPP on the people’s evaluation of the Republican presidential contenders

Romney is viewed favorably by 34% in Elon’s poll, 31% in PPP’s.

Santorum is viewed favorably by 32% in Elon’s poll, 36% in PPP’s.

Paul is viewed favorably by 33% in Elon’s poll, 27% in PPP’s.

Gingrich is viewed favorably by 23% in Elon’s poll, 28% in PPP’s.

It’s fair to say that it remains anyone’s race on the GOP’s side in North Carolina.

— John Robinson

GOP tapped into North Carolinians concerns

According to the Elon University Poll, North Carolinians are most concerned about these issues in order: the cost of gas, the national debt and the cost of health care.

Each provides fertile political talking points for Republican candidates, and they know it.

Cost of gas: The Republican National Committee sent out talking points instructing party faithful to take up the issue.  House Speaker John Boehner urged his caucus to do the same. And, on Wednesday, the House energy committee obliged: The Republican majority called in a bunch of oilmen for a hearing dedicated largely to blaming President Obama for gas prices.

The national debt: Ron Paul ranks as the one candidate among four whose announced policies would leave America with a lower national debt than it would have under a status quo course, according to a new analysis.

Cost of health careRepublican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s main message to Republican voters in Huntsville Thursday was simple. “Obamacare is, in fact, the death knell for freedom, and that’s why it must be repealed,” Santorum told a large crowd at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center five days before the state’s GOP primary.

The poll results could give the candidates a guide to reassure North Carolinians about the plans for the future.

— John Robinson

The GOP: It’s anyone’s race in North Carolina

I think it is fair to say that North Carolinians think about Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in about the same way. That is, about a third of them think favorably of the three. Even though Romney is viewed favorably by 34 %, Paul by 33% and Santorum by 32%, the 3.9% margin of error puts them all on equal footing.

It is worth noting, too, that like President Obama, they are all upside down, meaning that more people said they had an unfavorable opinion of each man than a favorable one. (Wondering about Newt Gingrich? His unfavorables more than doubled his favorables, 59% to 23%.) The high unfavorable ratings aren’t surprising given that the candidates have spent the past several months criticizing each other.

It is also worth noting that none of that reflects how North Carolina Republicans will vote on May 8. Here is why: this was a survey of state residents, not Republicans likely to vote in the primary. In addition, the GOP campaigns have scarcely visited North Carolina. The candidates have had their hands full with the primaries and caucuses in other states. That likely explains why, despite 20 debates on national television, about 1 in 5 respondents said they didn’t know what they thought of Paul. (Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is in the state often enough that they it could designate it the home of the Southern White House while they’re in Charlotte for the Democratic Convention.)

How do the Republicans stack up nationally and in other states? An aggregation of poll results is here.

— John Robinson