- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

‘Some emerging Republican sentiment about a certain governor would not much surprise the Utah-based “Draft Mitt” grass-roots effort. A new poll of likely GOP primary voters from Zogby Analytics shows Mitt Romney outpolling and outdistancing his nearest rivals for the nomination by a two-to-one margin.

Romney places first in the 2016 race for the nomination with 20 percent,” says pollster and Forbes contributor John Zogby, who notes Mr. Romney has strong support across the board, leading all his Republican rivals among men, women, moderates, conservatives and evangelicals, the poll found.


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Romney’s showing is no doubt due a lot to name recognition — after all he has been out campaigning for two full cycles already. But it also shows that he has not really hurt himself among the GOP base,” Mr. Zogby says, noting that in the aftermath of the 2012 election, Mr. Romney distinguished himself, but has “maintained a restrained dignity,” and remained outside the dysfunctional political realm.

“What is most impressive to me is the 23 percent support he receives from self-described born again voters. His closest rival among this group is Mike Huckabee with 14 percent. This was the group that was most troubled by Romney’s leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” Mr. Zogby says. “They alone represent almost half of GOP primary voters and their support is vital.”

The numbers indeed are promising for Mr. Romney, who still insists he has no interest in the White House derby. Among Republicans overall, the findings reveal New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a distant second place with 12 percent, followed by Sen. Rand Paul (11 percent), Sen. Ted Cruz (9 percent), Mr. Huckabee (8 percent), Jeb Bush (6 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio both with 4 percent, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (3 percent), plus Govs. Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman all with 1 percentage point — or under.

PAUL RYAN’S REPRISE


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“Sign me up for Mitt mania. Absolutely. I’d drive his bus if he asked me to.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan about his former 2012 running mate Mitt Romney, to Bloomberg Politics managing editor Mark Halperin.

Meanwhile, the pair are together again, and appear ready for a new buddy movie. Or something. Fox News host Megyn Kelly got the big “get.” She has a joint interview with Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan at 9 p.m. Thursday on the network.

ONLY TEPID ABOUT A ROMNEY RE-RUN

And of course, another survey always lurks around the corner.

“There’s no appetite for another Romney presidential campaign,” says William Jordan, an analyst for YouGov, where a new poll finds that 53 percent of Americans don’t want Mitt Romney to give a White House run another try.

Oh, but it’s complicated, and there are always more numbers. The YouGov poll also found that 34 percent of Republicans said Mr. Romney should not run; 34 percent were also undecided while 32 percent said he should just go ahead and run. And there are some ideology-based gaps as well. The survey found that 41 percent of conservatives wanted Mr. Romney to stay out of the race; 30 percent were unsure and 29 percent gave him the nod.

“If Romney ran again, he would not be the first modern president to run after having lost in a general election. Richard Nixon ran against John F. Kennedy and lost narrowly in 1960, but went on to defeat Hubert Humphrey in 1968,” Mr. Jordan notes.

THE 65 PRESIDENTIAL ‘MIGHT RUNS’

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