THEY'RE JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, PAUL
The key finding of the new Public Policy Polling survey of GOP voters is this:
Romney leads as GOP prioritizes electability
... Romney leads our newest poll with 22% to 17% for Herman Cain, 15% for Sarah Palin, 9% for Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty, 8% for Michele Bachmann, 7% for Ron Paul, and 1% for Jon Huntsman.
Romney's strength is with those voters for whom electability is the paramount concern....
But dig into the numbers (PDF) and you'll find this result, in response to a question about an imaginary Republican field made up people who don't seem to be running as well as those who are:
Paul Ryan -- who's been touted as presidential material by Bill Kristol, Eric Cantor, Dick Armey, and other righties -- is thrown into the mix and gets only as much support as Tim Pawlenty?
In fact, if you dig deeper into the numbers, he doesn't even do particularly well among those who identify themselves as "very conservative": in that groups he gets only 8%, barely more than Pawlenty and Giuliani. Oh, and overall there's a gender gap: Ryan gets 7% of men but only 4% of women. (Not even the "12-pack abs" seem to help!)
Think it just might be because he wants to evicerate a government program everyone uses, understands, and likes? Even wingnuts? Think that actually isn't appealing to them?
At he other extreme, notice who wins this field: Chris Christie. Wingnuts love the big lug. I think it's not merely that they see what he's doing in New Jersey and think, "Well, it's not my ox getting gored." The point is that they actually crave the goring of somebody's ox, or multiple oxen, in as mean and bloody a fashion as possible -- just not their own. And Christie seems to deliver.