Though Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is a likely nominee, new polls reveal that voters are still concerned about his Mormon faith and that he would lose against President Barack Obama.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll show the former Massachusetts governor is leading contender Herman Cain 28 percent to 27 percent for the Republican nomination.
The poll also shows Americans favor Obama by six percentage points in a general election vote (49 percent compared to 43 percent).
Though Romney has remained at the top of the pack since entering the GOP nominee race in the spring, voters still seem to be hesitant about embracing him whole-heartedly.
Young voters and Democrats are still uncomfortable with Romney's Mormon faith, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey released Tuesday.
A majority of young adult voters ages 18 to 29 (54 percent) reported feeling at least somewhat uncomfortable with a Mormon serving as president. Democrats are evenly split in their discomfort with a Mormon president.
Only 36 percent of Republican voters still report feeling at least somewhat uncomfortable with a Mormon president.
According to the WSJ/NBC poll, among 43 percent of voters who said that they would vote for Romney in a general election with Obama, only 11 percent would do so with enthusiasm. Another 30 percent of Romney supporters said they would have some reservations.
Of Obama’s supporters, 28 percent said they would vote for him enthusiastically. Only 22 percent Obama voters would have reservations.
Conservative blogger Erick Erickson predicted on his blog Red State that Romney will win the primary because of his opponents’ unfavorable pasts, but will lose the general election. Voters, he explained, want someone who “says what he means and means what he says,” and Romney is not that person.
“As much as the American public does not like Barack Obama, they loath a man so fueled with ambition that he will say or do anything to get himself elected. Mitt Romney is that man,” Erickson wrote.
Seventy-two percent of voters polled in the WSJ/NBC poll “expressed disappointment in the Obama administration’s handling of the economy.” Additionally, 53 percent of voters believe that the national debt and the size of government must be cut back.
Still, Romney, whose state health care plan was the basis for Obama’s plan, is not a strong enough contrast to the president to lure voters who want real change, Erickson said.
Voters believe 41 percent to 27 percent that Obama will be more consistent in standing up for his beliefs, the WSJ/NBC poll reveals. Voters believe that Romney will have better ideas than Obama for how to turn the economy around – but only by a slim 4 percent lead.