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Republican Voters Have Few Presidential Favorites

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – According to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, nearly 60 percent of Republicans say there is no single US Presidential candidate that sparks their enthusiasm. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

70 percent of poll respondents say that the country is heading in the wrong direction: the number of Americans who think the economy is getting worse jumped 13 percentage points in a single month, dragging down ratings for both parties in Congress and for President Obama. But observers note that the sitting President will be difficult to run against, confident that the current pool of possible Republican challengers have no one in their ranks capable of defeating him.

A single candidate, former Arkansas Governor. Mike Huckabee, is viewed favorably by more than half of Republicans polled, while short-list of other potential Republican challengers bears names unfamiliar to most surveyed. Times Union State Editor Casey Seiler follows politics at the New York State Capitol in Albany, where says most politicians have been too busy with the budget and dealing with the Cuomo administration to pay attention to anything else. Democratic Assembly member Jack McEneny has been in politics since he joined the peace corps after hearing President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech in the 1960s - he says an emerging candidate needs the ability to inspire.

The poll found most Republican voters have heard of Donald Trump, but "nearly 60 percent of Republicans interviewed said they did not believe he was a serious candidate." Dustin Reidy was co-coordinator of the 2008 "Albany for Obama" campaign: he says any challenger to the President faces a bigger challenge "finding a leader who will attack Barack Obama in outrageous ways and will actually be able to be serious on policy."

Lynn Krogh, former deputy press secretary for Gov. George Pataki and Executive Director of the Young Republican National Federation, is on the Draft Trump 2012 Committee: "Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, they're all very very qualified individuals who are extremely smart and have track records... but there are other folks out there who could be dark horses. Donald Trump is certainly one of them... Mitch Daniels is another."

The New York Times/CBS poll was conducted by calls to 1224 adults at random landline telephone numbers last Friday through Wednesday, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.