Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 17, 2014

Romney Rorschach

Romney Rorschach

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Just Say No” was the 1980s-era catchy, rather simple phrase that was supposed to come to mind for children when offered mind-altering drugs.

Times change. Now it’s what seems to come to mind when people are offered Mitt Romney.

In a recent poll of 1,009 Americans conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Washington Post, the most frequent words that came to mind when asked for a single-word response to the Republican presidential frontrunner were “no” and “no way.” Thirty-one people answered with either of those terms.

Of course, “no way” is really two words, but perhaps the people taking the survey were told there would be no math.

But maybe it’s not all bad for the former Massachusetts governor. Following closely behind on the “no way” trend were 30 people who used the word “rich” to describe Romney.

A little further down the line, though, 19 people said the word “good” came to mind when thinking of Romney, and that was followed by the 18 folks who said “Mormon.”

Regarding Romney’s rivals, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) seems to have accomplished his mission of convincing people that he is one conservative dude. Far and away, “conservative” was the word that most frequently popped into people’s heads (57) when asked to give one word that describes the man who is trying to take away Romney’s frontrunner status.

The next most common word to describe Santorum? That would be “no,” the choice of 24 respondents.

And what if Santorum isn’t satisfied with just being “conservative” but also wants to be “very conservative”? Well, he has some work to do. Only 10 people said “very conservative” was the term that first came to mind regarding the former lawmaker. That was a few ticks below the 15 who said “crazy.”

Neither candidate outpaced Rep. Ron Paul in the “no” sweepstakes, though. With 41 people saying “no” was the first thing that came to mind when thinking of Paul, perhaps the Texas Republican, who is a physician, can lay claim to the title “Dr. No.”

We at HOH would love to see Paul and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who currently sports the nickname, arm-wrestle for the title.

And poor Newt Gingrich. Even though he’s not as old as Paul, the former Speaker was most frequently (33 respondents) described as “old.” That was followed closely by a Romney-like response, with 32 people saying “no” or “no way” to Gingrich. At least that’s better than the 21 who said “idiot.”

The survey was conducted March 15-18 and had a 4-point margin of error.

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