Which Republican Presidential Candidate Has the Best Chance of Beating President Obama in a Debate?

Bookmark and Share  Last week, White House 2012 asked readers to tell us which of the Republican candidates they believe is most capable of beating President Obama in the presidential debates.

Of all the questions ever asked about the Republican presidential candidates in a White House 2012 poll, nonehave ever had results that gave the nod to any candidate by as large a margin as this one did.  With a lead that exceeded his nearest rival by more than 32%,  White House 2012 readers concluded that Newt Gingrich was the candidate with the best chance of dominating the President in the debates.

Far behind him was Mitt Romney, followed by Herman Cain, a candidate who is now out of the running.

Behind Cain, with 7.23%,  was “none of the candidates”.

With a margin as wide as the one Newt received in this poll of approximately 300 respondents, it is safe to say that a clear majority of Republican voters have found Newt’s debate skills to be superior to those of his rivals.  It is also safe to say that Newt’s rise in the polls, which began to rebound, prior to Herman Cain’s departure from the campaign trail, is in large part due to his performances in the many debates that have already been held.

The perception that Newt could outshine President Obama in a debate is a promising observation when considering who Republicans will ultimately nominate for President. 

The Presidential debates typically draw some of the largest national audiences of all televised events, and they often prove to be decisive factors in particularly close elections.  But before we can get to those debates, we need a nominee and now that this poll answers the questions of who voters think can do better in debate with President Obama, the next question is, how much of a factor will that be in determining who Republicans want to run against President Obama?

When it comes to electability, Newt does not score very high marks.  With legends created about multiple marriages, and a history of being a polarizing and partisan political figure, many have significant doubts about Newt’s electability.  But the popular perception that Newt can beat the President in the debates, the perceived electability problem in  the general election losses some of its sting.  However, at the same time, the overwhelming opinion of Newt being superior debater puts increasing pressure on Newt.  From here on out, voters will be holding  Newt Gingrich to a higher standard than the other candidates in future debates.  And a weak debate performance at any point in the future could prove to be lethal to Gingrich in the sense that it will take the shine off of what voters consider to beone of his greatest strengths.

Meanwhile, even though Mitt Romney comes in far behind Newt in this poll, should Newt not win the nomination, the results seemingly indicate that Republicans will still be pretty confident in Romney’s ability to hold his own against President Obama.

At the bottom end of this poll, in the wake of a series of debate performances that blew Texas Governor Rick Perry out of the water, it should come as no surprise that he and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson tied for last place.  Gary Johnson has been allowed in only two debates and in each one, he failed to catch on with voters in any significant way.

This week, White House 2012’s poll takes its lead from a post written by IkeFriday, that wondered out loud about how people viewed Ron Paul when  it comes to his policies that involve Israel.   Friday’s question was inspired by the The Republican Jewish Coalition’s decision to not invite Ron Paul to their candidate’s forum that will be held this Wednesday on December 7th.   The RJC  said that inviting Ron Paul would be no different than inviting Barack Obama when it came to policy on Israel and Israel’s enemies.

While the reasoning does not indicate that the Republican Jewish community believes Ron Paul is anti-Semitic but Paul’s positions have often been ascribed to anti-Jewish sentiments on his part. 

For the record, as someone who is absolutely no fan of Ron Paul’s policies, I personally believe that while his positions concerning Israel are not approved of by me, I can not accuse Ron Paul of being anti-Semitic.  I believe that Ron Paul’s positions here are driven by his sincere interpretation of the Constitution and by what he truly believes is the best interest of America first.  I have no reason to believe that Paul’s positions regarding Israel are driven by an any anti-Jewish sentiments.   \

That’s my opinion.   What’s yours?  Is Ron Paul anti-Semitic?

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One Response

  1. Would like to see Gingrich actually debate instead of just berating the moderators. Perhaps that’s what the 300 or so poll respondents like so much about Gingrich? Other than the love-feast Lincoln-Douglas style debate with Cain, he has not really displayed his debating skills in my humble opinion.

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