Beating Obama Matters Most to GOP Voters, Poll Finds

Republican voters are more concerned about having a GOP president in place of incumbent Barack Obama than the nomination of their favorite candidate, a new poll found.

Findings of a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey released Friday found that 77 percent of “Likely Republican Primary Voters” think that every one of the party’s presidential candidates would do a better job than the current occupant of the White House. And 83 percent of primary voters said they would vote for the Republican candidate even if their favorite did not capture the party’s presidential nomination.

The poll signaled a shift among Republicans since the 2008 presidential election when many GOP supporters chose Obama over John McCain (R-Ariz.) with little consideration for their party. It is believed that while passion dominated the previous presidential vote, the choice for the president in 2012 will be determined by performance.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has his finger on the pulse. The media company specializing in opinion polls noted he put into words GOP voters’ feelings by saying, “Everyone on this stage would be a better president than Obama,” at the Monday night’s debate in New Hampshire.

While there were some differences on policy matters among the Republican candidates at the debate, all of them felt President Obama was mishandling the U.S. economy thanks to high levels of unemployment and soaring national debt. And that sentiment was reflected in the Rasmussen poll, too.

Only 14 percent responded in the negative when asked if any Republican candidate would do a better job than Obama. And just seven percent said they were likely to vote for Obama or a third party candidate if their favorite candidate did not win the nomination.

Tea Party members seemed even more determined to see Obama go. Ninety-two percent of GOP primary voters who are Tea Party members said they would vote for the Republican candidate even if their favorite fell short of the nomination. And 93 percent of them felt any of the GOP candidates would make a better president than Obama.

The survey of 1,000 likely GOP primary voters was conducted on June 14.

Meanwhile, at the three-day Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, many officials and activists called the party to unite behind a 2012 nominee who can beat Obama. “Our goal, our focus, has to be to elect a new Republican president next year… Don’t get hung up on purity. In this business, it is unity that wins elections,” Reuters quoted Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour as saying.

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