Politics

Poll: Romney holds greatest ‘reservoir of potential voters’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter

With just over a year to go until the 2012 election, President Barack Obama is the candidate with the most supporters who pledge to vote for him, but Mitt Romney is the candidate whom the most voters are willing to consider voting for.

According to a Gallup poll released Thursday, which asked voters about their preferences in the general election given the options of Obama, Romney and Perry, 33 percent of people say they will definitely vote for Obama, while 21 percent say they will definitely vote for Romney, and 20 percent for Perry.

Gallup points out that this may be because Obama is almost assuredly the Democratic nominee, giving Democrats an easy option in the poll, while Republicans are still split.

Romney is the candidate that the most voters are willing to take a look at, with 41 percent saying they might consider him. Thirty-three percent say they might consider Perry, and just 21 percent say they might consider Obama.

A nearly equal number of people are unwilling to vote for Perry and Obama, with 44 percent saying they would definitely not vote for Perry and 45 percent saying they definitely will not vote for Obama. Thirty-five percent say they have definitely ruled out Mitt Romney.

Romney appears to be the candidate who independents gravitate to the most, with 23 percent saying they will definitely vote for him and 47 percent saying they might consider voting for him. Perry and Obama have an equal number of committed independents: Twenty percent and 22 percent respectively, but only 38 percent of independents are willing to consider Perry, and just 25 percent say they might consider Obama. Obama’s lessening support among independents has been documented in other polls. (RELATED: Gallup: Poll finds record-high 86 percent U.S. approve of interracial marriage)

Compared to April — when Gallup last polled voters on this question — the percentage of voters willing to consider Romney has risen by 14 percentage points, while the percentage of voters willing to consider Obama has stayed constant at 54 percent.

Gallup points out that the results show Romney with “a greater reservoir of potential voters support” than his opponents, and that if he can tap into that, he could win the general election.

According to Gallup’s last polling on the subject, in a head-to-head match up Romney has a very narrow edge, but basically ties the president, with Obama at 46 percent and Romney at 48 percent. Perry, on the other hand, fares less well against Obama, losing 49 percent to 45 percent.

The poll is based on live telephone interviews with 889 registered voters from September 15 through September 18. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

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