As another round of voting takes place this week in the Republican presidential race – with 11 states holding Super Tuesday contests – a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that the combative and heavily scrutinized primary season so far has damaged the party and its candidates.
Four in 10 of all adults say the GOP nominating process has given them a less favorable impression of the Republican Party, versus just slightly more than one in 10 with a more favorable opinion.
Additionally, when asked to describe the GOP nominating battle in a word or phrase, nearly 70 percent of respondents – including six in 10 independents and even more than half of Republicans – answered with a negative comment.
Some examples of these negative comments from Republicans: "Unenthusiastic," "discouraged," "lesser of two evils," "painful," "disappointed," "poor choices," "concerned," "underwhelmed,” “uninspiring” and “depressed.”
And perhaps most significantly, the GOP primary process has taken a toll on the Republican presidential candidates, including front-runner Mitt Romney, who is seen more unfavorably and whose standing with independents remains underwater.
And yes, I'm aware that a complete Romney Super Tuesday victory in Ohio and the other states that forces Santorum and Gingrich out of the race would give him an eternity to polish his turd of an image ahead of November. Hell, even a brokered convention in August would still leave Romney 90 days or so to go full Sensible Centrist. He will have to.
But that's also operating in a vacuum and assuming that Team Obama won't do anything with their war chest either. Mitt Romney has already pulled the pin on several gaffe grenades and you can bet his tone-deaf stupidity will be served up on a daily basis once we get to this fall.
The longer the primary season goes, the deeper the hole Romney will be in (and yes, this means I think he eventually prevails as the nominee for now.) Let the chaos continue.