Fox/Opinion Dynamics has a nice new poll out tonight. One striking result is that NONE of the six leading candidates enjoys having more strong supporters than strong opponents. Fox asked:
Now I am going to read a list of possible candidates for the next presidential race. For each one, please tell me whether you would definitely vote for that candidate for president, if you might vote for that candidate, or if under no conditions would you vote for that candidate.
The "don't know" rate for all these candidates is pretty low, 10% or less.
The result, plotted above, shows that all six have considerably more voters saying they would never vote for the candidate than saying they definitely would vote for them. In this figure being towards the upper left is bad news, lower right is good news. As in previous polls, former Speaker Newt Gingrich fares worst among these candidates, with very substantial numbers saying they would not vote for him under any circumstances. The rest of the candidates are somewhat bunched together.
The further a candidate is from the diagonal line (or closer to the lower left corner) the more people said they "might" vote for them. (Recall the DK rate is both low and pretty even across candidates, so this is mostly a true statement.) Senator Clinton is the candidate with the fewest "might" vote for responses, but even in her case 34% said they would consider her. Obama shows the most room for growth with 45% saying "might" vote for him. The others range from 39-44% saying might.
So these front runners have a long way to go, and must all face stiff strong opposition from significant chunks of the electorate. Or put differently, those persuadable voters will matter a lot.