Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is seen as the most electable among Republican presidential hopefuls but hasn't pulled away from the pack, a poll indicated.
Romney captured 24 percent overall backing in the latest Washington Post-ABC survey even though one of his main rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has stumbled and several high-profile potential candidates opted not to seek the GOP bid to challenge President Obama in 2012, results released Sunday indicated.
Romney's lack of traction carried over to specific issues and candidate attributes the Washington Post-ABC News poll found. The survey asked participants about six attributes or characteristics for the candidates.
About a third of survey respondents said Romney has the best chance of anyone in the field to defeat Obama in 2012. Running second on that question is businessman Herman Cain, with about a fifth saying he was the party's strongest candidate.
The poll was conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 3 just after sexual harassment allegations surfaced against Cain, who claimed 23 percent overall.
In the other five areas tested in the survey, Romney showed no greater strength than other GOP contenders. On empathy, 21 percent gave the nod to Cain while Romney had 17 percent. On honesty, Cain had 22 percent and Romney had 17 percent. The two also were close on the economy and other issues in general while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich matched well against Romney on upholding core Republican values.
Nearly half of all of the Republicans polled said they were less inclined to support Romney because of his work on healthcare. About 20 percent said they were less likely to vote for him because of his religion.
Results were based on a nationwide television survey of 1,004 adults and has an overall margin of error of 3.5 points percentage points. For the subsample of 438 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, the margin of error is 5.5 percentage points.