Rep. Ron Paul has not won a single primary--but that does not mean he's an unelectable candidate. In fact, Paul has polled higher in a general election matchup against the president than most Republican candidates despite his winless record in the primaries.
In a recent CNN/ORC Poll published days after the New Hampshire primary, 46 percent of the registered voters polled answered that they'd vote for Ron Paul when asked this question:
If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party's candidate and Ron Paul were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for--Obama, the Democrat, or Paul, the Republican? If unsure, as of today, who do you lean more toward?
Obama scored just two percentage points higher in the same poll. Given that the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points, the results show that Ron Paul could remain incredibly competitive with the presidential incumbent, Obama. The same can't be said about all Republican candidates.
Newt Gingrich, who won the South Carolina primary about one week after the poll was released, did not yield as much confidence from voters as Ron Paul had. When voters were asked the same question--whether they'd vote for Gingrich or Obama for the presidency--only 43 percent said that they would vote for Gingrich.
Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucus in a near-tie with Mitt Romney, polled just above Gingrich. Of the registered voters that were asked whether they'd vote for Obama or Santorum for the presidency if it came down to it, 45 percent said they'd vote for Santorum.
Mitt Romney, who has remained consistently competitive in the Republican primaries, actually polled higher than Obama. When asked if they'd vote for Obama or Romney if the presidential race came down to those two candidates, 48 percent of the registered voters responded that they'd vote for Romney, while just 47 percent said that they would vote for Obama.
Romney earned high marks on characteristics and qualities that the poll participants believe are essential to being electable. When asked whether Romney Has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have, 58 percent of respondents said that he did and 37 percent said that he did not.
The next Republican primary will take place on Jan. 31 in Florida. Romney remains atop the field of candidates to take all 50 delegates that come with Florida's Republican primary. According to a poll from American Research Group released Wednesday morning, 41 percent of likely voters backed Romney.
Republican candidates will need 1,144 delegate votes in order to win the presidential nomination. As it stands, CNN estimates the following results: Gingrich has 25 delegates, Romney has 14, Paul has 10 and Santorum has eight.