This whole election cycle we have been hearing the establishment media tell us that the Republican Party should get behind Mitt Romney because he the most or the only electable candidate in the race. This was always a flawed argument because of the amount of actual wins Romney has on his record. Yes, he did win the governorship as a Republican in a predominately-blue state, but so did the three governors before him. Before Romney, Michael Dukakis was the last Democratic governor of Massachusetts and that was in 1990. The state had a history of electing moderate Republicans. Romney knew the whole time he was planning on running for president, what better way to do that than to say he is an electable Republican governor of a blue state, and he can attract independents that are not ideological.
In 2008, Romney tried to run as the ultra-conservative alternative to John McCain, let us just call him the anti-McCain. He moved to the right on issue after issue, and it worked for the many conservatives who wanted to have a conservative candidate to face either Senator Clinton or Obama. The problem then as it is now is his record as governor of that blue state; he now has to defend changing positions on abortion and other issues that matter with the base, and he has struggled to find an authentic voice that will rally the base.
This is no longer 2008, and we no longer have the conservative Romney running for President, at least not in reality. If you listen to him, you may hear the occasional resemblance of conservatism, but when you look at his agenda, you start to see a man who is already moving to the center as if he already has the nomination. It has been this way since the first day he announced he was going to run this cycle, like if there was anyone who did not already know he was running. If Romney is anything, he is predictable when it comes to reaching for power.
At first, it did not seem like Romney really felt he needed the base to win the nomination, and when it came down to him against Obama, the base would come out on the strength of the anger at the president. Which to be honest, that is not really a flawed argument, president Obama will help to rally conservatives to whom ever wins the nomination; but having a candidate the base can at least trust would go a long way to helping defeat the presidents billion dollar war machine.
Then all of the sudden Santorum won three states, two of which will be important swing states this November.
After being swept in these three states by a underfunded Rick Santorum, it is almost like it just dawned on team Romney that he may not be able to win this nomination without the base. What else could it be, Romney has everything else, the money, the team, and the Washington establishment media that is pulling for him to win, albeit a weakened Romney, but him never the less.
Romney was supposed to silence conservative’s concerns at CPAC, but did not do that.
“I was a severely conservative governor. I fought against long odds in a deep blue state. I understand the battles that we, as conservatives, must fight because I have been on the front lines,”Romney at CPAC
Other than saying these little falsehoods, Romney left all the red meat in the freezer. That is right; Romney is going to try to win this on the strength of that whole electability argument and his superior assets to be used to run countless negative ads against anyone who would challenge his path.
That is why yesterday’s new Pew poll is starting to shake the foundation of this argument.
Just a month ago, 40% of independents said they would back Obama over Romney, but today that number stands at 51% , while the those who said they would support Romney over Obama has slipped from 50% to 42%.
Romney’s image with independents is also faltering, the number who believe him to be honest and trustworthy has fallen from 53% to 41%, while those who are now saying that he is not has gone up from 32% to 45%.
Even Romney main selling point is starting to take a hit with independents: in November, 58% of independents polled said Romney was well qualified to be president, 31% said he was not. Today 48% said he is well qualified, and 41% said he is not. This is a huge drop in poll support.
In November, Romney was beating Obama among independents by a 53 to 41 margin; these numbers have traded places with Obama commanding a 51-42 lead. This is only two points better than Santorum is doing in the Pew head-to-head matchups with Obama right now.
Even in Real Clear Politics average has Romney falling, Santorum has now overtaken Romney with 30.3% to 29.0%. Even more troubling for Team Romney is the PPP(D) poll that has Santorum up 15 points nationally. If anything, this is a good indication of Romney’s trouble are just starting. Just look that the just released PPP (D) poll showing Santorum with a 15-point lead against Romney in Michigan, this is where Romney is from and his dad spent time as governor. If Romney loses this state, his downfall will have been sealed. If you cannot win your own state in the primary, then you cannot win the presidency. It should be noted that these recent polls from PPP should be taken with a grain of salt, but they are noteworthy.
What does all this tell us? It says the electability argument is not working for Romney, and since it is not working, it is a good indicator that the argument did not hold much water to begin with. How can a person that is supposed to be so electable lose so often?
Romney is trying to be too many things for to many people, and in this day and age, with lightning fast media to hand held devices, it takes more than money, and the backing of the establishment to win. You have to have a solid candidate to begin with
Romney could still when this nomination, and he is likely to do so. What the Republican Party should understand now is that the so-called most electable candidate is not so electable after all. Right now, Santorum is just not looking so bad. He is the last not Romney of the bunch, but that just may be enough to get him to the convention of even the nomination.