- (Photo: Getty Images / Mark Wilson)
When given the choice on who Republicans want as the next GOP candidate, the majority of Americans answered none of the above, according to an AP poll released Tuesday.
Americans were given the choice to back any of the leading Republican front-runners currently up for the presidential bid, but nearly one quarter were not confident with the current list of candidates.
The recent poll reflects the strong evangelical constituency inside the party, and how the current hopefuls are not necessarily meeting their expectations. The poll may reveal an opening for current underdogs such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback to move forward.
"I'm looking for a strong, honest person. Do you know of any?" joked Barbara Skogman, a 72-year-old retired legal assistant from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the Associated Press. "Isn't that sad?"
Respondents were told to choose who they would vote for on the upcoming 2008 GOP nomination ballot among the four highest candidates: Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson (who is technically not in the race yet), John McCain or Mitt Romney.
Former New York Mayor Giuliani leads the three others with 21 percent of the poll, but has dropped from his high mark of 35 percent in March.
Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee senator, has quickly become a competitor now with 19 percent of the responses. Arizona senator McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Romney trail with 15 and 11 percent of the poll, respectively.
However, a majority, 23 percent, say that they will not or cannot say who they will vote for in the upcoming election. Compared to the poll on the Democratic side where only 13 percent were undecided, the polls show an apprehensive attitude towards the current GOP roster.
"Democrats are reasonably comfortable with the range of choices. The Democratic attitude is that three or four of these guys would be fine," said David Redlawsk, a University of Iowa political scientist, according to the Associated Press. "The Republicans don't have that; particularly among the conservatives there's a real split. They just don't see candidates who reflect their interests and who they also view as viable."
Several Christian and evangelical groups have criticized the current contenders for many of their moral standards.
Giulliani has been married three times and been a big promoter of abortion and gay rights in past years. Both McCain and Thompson have had divorces in their past, and do not seem to stress their faith. Romney has been criticized for his ties to the Mormon church, which most Christians view as a cult.
Out of the nine total GOP possibilities, many Christians have started to side with two candidates, Huckabee and Brownback who have not been able to raise to the top mostly due to their insufficient funding and lack of publicity because of their strong moral track record.
Both candidates have explained that their faith is an important aspect of how they act, and have shown this through their current campaign.
In one such incident in late May, both raised their hands during the first GOP debate when asked if they did not believe in evolution. Both clarified their positions at a later debate at the start of June as to mean that they believe that God had a crucial role in creating the world.
"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth," explained Huckabee at the debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Whether God did it in six days or whether He did it in six days that represented periods of time, He did it. And that's what's important."
Besides holding to traditional faith stances towards issues such as abortion, the two also have qualities that religious voters favor. Brownback has been a strong promoter of decency standards in media in the past among other things. Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister.
Meanwhile, Democrats have shown they are much less undecided.
Former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has amassed a sizable lead over her Illinois competitor Barack Obama at 36 and 20 percent respectively. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards trails with 11 percent.