The Washington Post

Poll watcher: Gingrich rides tea party surge; Obama trails Romney in N. H.

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Despite catapulting to the top tier, just 8 percent of Republican primary voters in the Fox poll say Gingrich is the most likeable candidate. Romney (26 percent) and Herman Cain (25) lead on this measure. Experience may overwhelm charm. Nearly eight in 10 Republicans say Gingrich has the experience to serve effectively as president, compared with just 47 percent who say the same about former frontrunner Cain. Gingrich is also seen as the most trustworthy candidate with nuclear weapons, another indicator that he is seen as a seasoned operator.

New Hampshire at risk for Obama — President Obama trails Romney by 10 points in a hypothetical 2012 matchup in New Hampshire among likely 2012 voters in a Bloomberg News poll released Wednesday, a state Obama won by nine points over John McCain in 2008. The deficit for Obama may be surprising given that New Hampshire’s unemployment rate — at just 5.4 percent in September — is well below the national average. Romney holds a commanding lead in the state’s Republican nomination contest.

GOP support for alternative energy plummets — Support for increasing federal funding for alternative energy research has fallen from 82 to 53 percent since 2009 among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, according to a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll released last week. Only two years ago, upwards of eight in 10 Democrats and Republicans alike backed increased funding for wind, solar and hydrogen technology, opening up a previously nonexistent partisan gap. Fully 83 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support more funding.

A small majority of Americans opposes increased use of nuclear power, a sentiment that’s grown since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima power plant. But almost six in 10 Americans support more offshore, oil and gas drilling, up significantly from a poll shortly after last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Scott Clement is a survey research analyst for The Washington Post. Scott specializes in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.


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