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Imagine a truly nightmarish world: Your only choices for president are Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, and you simply have to pick between them. It's the kind of wrenching hypothetical beloved by kids staying up late to play "Would You Rather?" and hard-ass law school professors alike. So naturally, we put the question to American voters.

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 2/9-12. Registered voters. MoE ±3.1% (no trendlines):

Q: Who would you rather have as President: Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum?

Mitt Romney: 26
Rick Santorum: 37
Unsure: 37

Of course, we did allow people to cop out and say they were undecided, but as between those who actually made a choice, it's Santorum who has the clear edge. Here's why:
Romney-Santorum poll detail

Democrats, as you can see, have a slight "preference" for Romney, if you can even call it that—the majority don't even want to answer the question. But Republicans like Santorum much, much more—they like him better by an almost two-to-one ratio. Interestingly, even independents feel more warmly toward Santorum, which might help explain the slightly stronger numbers he's posted versus President Obama in some recent polls.

Of course, this is just a hypothetical and we do get a choice—thank heaven!

P.S. Our usual job approval ratings can be found, as always, on our Weekly Trends page. There you'll also find our re-launched polling widget from Tableau Software, which allows you to play with interactive graphs charting the results of all our regularly-asked questions. What's super-cool is that using the drop-down in the bottom-left corner, you can split each trendline up by demographic category. Serious poll junkies will definitely want to check it out.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 09:56 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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