Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)
Reporting from Washington — If Rick Santorum won’t let the fat lady sing, it looks like Republicans are willing to pick up the chorus. A new Pew Research Center poll finds that 74% of Republicans believe that Mitt Romney will “definitely be” the GOP’s presidential nominee. Just 21% see anyone other than Romney with a chance, yet another bad sign for Santorum.
As for the notion that the ongoing primary is helping the GOP, Republicans are increasingly siding against it. Over the past three months, the share of Republican thinking the lack of a single presidential candidate is a good thing has fallen from 55% in February to 36% in April, while those thinking it’s a bad thing have increased from 36% to 47%.
The results mirror those of a poll Pew conducted during the 2008 Democratic primary, which dragged on between then-Sen. Barack Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. In February, 57% saw the continuation of the primary as a good thing, which dropped to just 35% by April. And the number of Democrats against the party failing to rally around a single candidate rose from 27% to 51% in the same timeframe.
Pew also brought in Democrats to chime in on the Republican primaries, and their views mirrored those across the aisle. A majority of Democrats, 64%, also see Romney’s candidacy as inevitable, and 63% see the continued primary as a bad thing for the GOP, which they presumably also see as a good thing for their own party.
The poll results echo recent statements by the field of candidates. On Sunday, Newt Gingrich, falling further behind every day, admitted during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that his chance at grabbing the nomination are slim.
“Given the size of his organization, given the number of primaries he’s won, he is far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” he said. “If he does get to 1,144 delegates, I’ll support him. I’ll do everything I can this fall to help him beat President Obama.”
On the debut of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s radio show Monday, Romney acknowledged Gingrich’s half-endorsement, and said that “in all likelihood” he would hit the delegate mark needed to seize the nomination.
Pew’s poll was conducted from April 5-8 with a sample of 1,000 adults, interviewed via telephone and with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
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