In a lengthy, must-read discussion of the 2012 presidential field at FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver produces this chart of the net favorability of the 2012 GOP presidential field:
It’s no surprise that Sarah Palin & Newt Gingrich are as popular as burnt toast. I wouldn’t have guessed that Tea Party favorites Ron Paul & Michele Bachmann would be so well known – or so resoundingly rejected. But as Silver notes, what’s really so shocking about this chart is the lack of net favorables for the GOP’s newcomer candidates like John Thune, Mitch Daniels & Tim Pawlenty. For example, John Kerry had spent two decades in the U.S. Senate when he ran for president, yet still had lower unfavorables than Pawlenty, who was an unknown nationally until being mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for John McCain in 2004.