Washington – Can Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul overcome the obstacles of being labelled as unelectable? Can former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney defeat his GOP rivals after losing multiple contests? If the Republican Party wants to defeat United States President Barack Obama, they will have to choose one of the two.
According to a Rasmussen Reports poll, the only two candidates leading President Obama in the general election are Dr. Paul and former Gov. Romney. Meanwhile, former Senator Rick Santorum and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich trail the incumbent president.
The poll released over the weekend shows that Romney would hold a two-point lead over Obama with 45 percent support compared to the president’s 43 percent. Dr. Paul also maintains a two-point lead with 43 percent versus 41 percent.
Although his numbers have improved over the last several weeks against President Obama, Santorum still trails Obama by two points with only 43 percent support against Obama’s 45 percent.
All of the three races, though, are within the margin of error.
Gingrich has not improved at all; he is still polling behind the president in double digit numbers (10 percent).
Interesting figures to note is that if Paul is the Republican nominee he would maintain diverse support. For example, in a hypothetical matchup between Paul and Obama, the libertarian-leaning congressman would pick up 15 percent of liberal voters. However, the study found that he would lose about eight percent of female vote.
“This is further evidence of the fact that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can defeat Barack Obama,” said Jesse Benton, Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman, in a press release. “Ron Paul was the only candidate to predict the economic disarray we currently face and he is the only candidate to solve these problems. In order to win back the White House, Republicans must nominate a consistent candidate that offers something besides the status quo. Ron Paul is that candidate.”
The telephone poll was conducted with 1,000 likely voters on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. It contains a margin of error of +/- three percentage points.
Rasmussen’s latest poll comes as numerous news outlets are reporting of a Romney-Paul alliance. Santorum has publicly accused the two of establishing a coalition because, according to the former senator, the two candidates’ commercials and attacks “look a lot alike.”
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the three-time presidential candidate’s son, added to the speculation by stating that he would be “honored” if he was asked to be the Republican nominee’s running mate.
Both ideas have been denounced by the Ron Paul campaign and by the freshman senator.
It is true that Paul has been quite cordial to Romney since the primary season started and vice-versa. Paul has stated in interviews in the past that the former governor is much more diplomatic and understands the free market better than the other candidates.
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh analyzed the situation last week by allegedly noting that there have been meetings and discussions between the two campaigns and “it’s clear that there’s a hands-off policy between Paul to Romney and vice-versa.”
“Paul does not attack Romney. Ron Paul attacks every one of Romney’s opponents; Romney doesn’t attack Paul,” said Limbaugh.