Scott Rasmussen

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Newt Gingrich has surged to the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination with the strong support of evangelical Christian voters. To some, given Gingrich's personal life, this support is puzzling. Whatever else people say about Mitt Romney, his personal life seems above reproach and a good role model for others.

But Gingrich benefits from the fact that when it comes to ethics, voters always grade politicians on a curve. Among Republican primary voters nationwide, 68 percent believe the former House speaker's ethical standards are at least as good as those of most other politicians. Even 51 percent of Romney supporters and 74 percent of Rick Santorum's voters view the ethics of Gingrich as the norm for his peers.



When his tenure at the investment firm Bain Capital became an issue in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney responded by saying he "was disappointed ... to see one of my opponents attacking free enterprise, just like the president was."

It's understandable why Romney would want to see criticism of his resume as an attack on free enterprise. Seventy percent of Americans favor a free market economy over a government-managed economy. Whether in the primaries or the general election, Romney would like to say he believes in free enterprise while the other candidates believe government has a vital role to play in helping every industry and company succeed. Americans overwhelmingly reject that premise and don't want government in the business of picking economic winners and losers.