It's a dream more than a few Republican officials have no doubt had in recent months: the party's presidential nominating contest remains unresolved through June, and a contested election opens the door to Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan rescuing Republicans by riding in on a white horse. "Finally!" party officials declare in the dream. "Our establishment heroes will rescue us from the dreaded Trump monster!"
There are, of course, all kinds of problems with the fantasy. For one thing, both Romney and Ryan -- who comprised the party's failed 2012 ticket -- have said they have no intention of seeking national office in 2016. For another, if the party sticks to its Rule 40, neither of these guys would even be eligible for the nomination.
But even putting this aside, there's a more obvious problem: the American mainstream just doesn't like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan that much. Public Policy Polling published some interesting results today:
PPP's newest national poll finds that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wouldn't exactly be the solution to the GOP's Donald Trump problem, with Romney doing even worse head to head against Hillary Clinton than Trump does.
That's not an exaggeration, by the way. For all the recent interest in Trump's poor standing with the American mainstream -- interest that's well deserved given his position as the GOP's frontrunner -- Romney actually fares worse in hypothetical general election match-ups.
In the PPP results, both Clinton and Sanders lead Trump by about eight points nationally. Romney, however, trails both of the Democratic candidates by double digits.
The pollster's analysis added, "Romney is incredibly unpopular nationally now -- his 23/65 favorability rating is even worse than the 29/63 Trump comes in at." It may seem odd, but when Romney delivered his recent speech condemning Trump, most of the public liked the attacker even less than his target.
And what about the Republican House Speaker? PPP found that the Wisconsin congressman would trail Clinton and Sanders in a general election by 5% and 7%, respectively, which is pretty similar to the advantages Clinton and Sanders enjoy over Trump.
In other words, the imagined saviors of the party wouldn't actually save the party. Plenty of voters remember the last two Republicans on the national ticket, but that doesn't mean they're remembered fondly.