By DAN HIRSCHHORN 5/26/11 6:20 PM EDT Updated: 5/26/11 6:27 PM EDT
Mitt Romney is the candidate who'll be able to build a Republican coalition, but no one does better than Sarah Palin on connecting with GOP voters on social issues, according to a new Gallup poll.
Romney wins support from a wide swath of Republicans, pulling 16-18 percent regardless of whether their most important issues are government spending, the economy, national security or moral values. Palin has even stronger support among Republicans who put a premium on moral values — 23 percent of them back the former Alaska governor — but that's about the only segment of the electorate that picks her.
The poll also found former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain outperforming Tim Pawlenty among all constituencies.
Government spending and power remains the most important issue for Republicans, with 36 percent identifying it as their key concern. Business and the economy follow at 31 percent, and only 15 percent of Republicans pick social issues as their most important, according to the poll.
The national survey of 971 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, conducted May 20-24, has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
This is not terribly surprising to me personally. While Romney's past political actions do seem to keep coming back to haunt him, he is the arguably the only Republican candidate currently who appeals to a majority of Republican voters. And also not shockingly, Sarah Palin is the favorite of Social Conservatives in the GOP but doesn't score well with the party as a whole. However what should not be assumed from this poll is that Romney is what many conservatives today call RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), though mark my words if Sarah Palin does run she will call him one. The man is political creature, in that when he was governor of Massachusetts he approved of what are considered liberal policies, and when he ran for President he moved a bit more to the right to appeal to the broader base of the GOP. Now whether there is something wrong with that or not is a matter of opinion. Personally such tactics are what I expect from modern American politicians and make some good sense (see Senator Scott Brown for a good comparison). It shows to me that Romney is fairly flexible which I think is a good thing for a Presidental candidate.
Now for those who haven't heard, Sarah Palin is making two big moves that are making it look very much like she is going to run for President. First, it became known that she collaberated with a conservative moviemaker to produce a film to tell the "real" story about Sarah Palin that will premier here in Iowa later this year. Secondly, she is now planning a trip across the nation, the first such move since her book was published. In my opinion, these moves (especially the movie) are designed to try and "reintroduce" Sarah Palin to America and to put her rather troubling quitting of the governorship in Alaska in the past.
As such, I am going to make a rather bold prediction..I believe the time of the Iowa Caucus early next year, these two will be the primary candidates for the GOP. Also, I guarantee the Republican primaries will get very messy and probably quite bloody. You thought the Democratic primaries were bloody, just wait til 2012..Mark my words.