The face of the Republican Party appears to have more in common with the lead character from “Phantom of the Opera” than some would believe, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll that has 52% of those surveyed not knowing who exactly leads the party.

Furthermore, about a third of those who identified themselves as Republicans expressed displeasure with their own party, a number that is in the single digits for Democrats. This is bad news for the GOP:

These numbers are troubling for Republicans, who are engaged in a civil war right over the ideological direction of the party,” said CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. “When one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of the party, it makes it difficult to establish a united front to promote GOP policies at the same time opposing President Obama’s agenda.”

Among Republicans surveyed, three names were at the top: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney. Rush and Newt each came in at 10%, and the former VP came in at 9%.

At the very least, these numbers are troublesome from the perspective that the leaders of your party should enjoy the best prospects when it comes to running for President. In the GOP, the nomination has historically gone to someone who’s put their dues in, basically because “it’s their turn.” Well I don’t see Rush running, and Cheney has said he would not run, which leaves Newt Gingrich.

And as smart and capable as Newt is, I just can’t see him beating Obama if all things are equal. And by that I mean unless a major catastrophe or scandal devastates Obama, I think it would be a tough chore for Gingrich to unseat him.

That said, a lot can happen in a couple years.

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