PRINCETON, NJ -- Fifty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are satisfied with Mitt Romney as their party's nominee, while 36% would have preferred to see another candidate win. By contrast, eight in 10 Democrats are satisfied with Barack Obama as their party's nominee.
These results, from a May 10-13 USA Today/Gallup poll, in part reflect the fact that Romney faced a highly competitive primary fight that resolved itself only in early April, while the incumbent President Obama faced no significant primary competition.
Gallup asked this same type of question about John McCain in February 2008, although using a different wording because it was asked prior to his clinching the nomination. At that point, 51% of Republicans said they would be satisfied if McCain "ended up the winner in the Republican race." In June 1988, on the other hand, 68% of Republicans said they were satisfied that then-Vice President George H.W. Bush ended up as the party's nominee.
Republican-leaning independents are less likely to be satisfied with Romney than are those who identify initially as Republicans. This probably reflects the fact that "pure" Republicans tend to be more loyal to their party -- and their party's nominee -- than those who are independents and lean toward the Republican Party.
Although Romney did not do as well against Rick Santorum among highly religious Republicans in the final months of the GOP primary season, there is little difference by church attendance in satisfaction with Romney as the presumptive Republican nominee. Weekly church-attending Republicans and Republican leaners are only slightly less satisfied than those who attend less often.
The majority of Republicans are conservative, and 56% of this group is satisfied with Romney, while 41% wish there was another candidate. These results differ by just a few percentage points from the views of all Republicans/Republican leaners. The minority of Republicans who are moderate and liberal are somewhat more likely to be satisfied with Romney.
Democrats are more satisfied with Obama as their nominee than are Republicans with their presumptive nominee, Romney. This raises the possibility that Republicans will be less motivated than Democrats to turn out and vote this November, and a recent USA Today/Gallup poll did show that Obama's supporters report being at least slightly more enthusiastic about voting than Romney's. At the same time, nine in 10 Republicans in the May 10-13 survey say they will vote for Romney, almost identical to the percentage of Democrats who say they will vote for Obama -- suggesting that even Republicans who wish there had been another GOP nominee will end up voting for Romney on Nov. 6.
Sign up to get Election 2012 news stories from Gallup as soon as they are published.
Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 10-13, 2012, with a random sample of 1,012 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
For results based on the total sample of 463 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points. For results based on the total sample of 483 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, the maximum margin of sample error is ±6 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.