Monday, November 7, 2011

Mitt Romney's Good News-Bad News Numbers

Will slow and steady win the race for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney?

He’s already winning the electability argument — 33 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning independents choose him as the candidate most likely to beat President Obama one  year from now, according to the results of the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll.

Even so, our pollster Gary Langer notes “fewer, 24 percent, support him for the nomination, basically steady the past three months, and slightly down from his peak support, 30 percent, in July.”

Why? Here are a few reasons:

–Only 17 percent of GOP voters see Romney as the most “honest and trustworthy” candidate compared to 22 percent who say so about Herman Cain, who has spent the last week battling sexual harassment allegations.

–Similarly, just 17 percent say Romney is the candidate who best understands “the problems of people like you” versus 21 percent for Cain.

–Forty-eight percent of leaned Republicans say Romney’s involvement in passing health care reform in Massachusetts makes them less likely to back him, including a third much less likely.

“Romney’s overall support for the nomination, in turn, declines from 31 percent among moderates to 21 percent among conservatives and 15 percent among leaned Republicans who describe themselves as very conservative — a group accounting for nearly three in 10 potential GOP voters,” according to Langer.

So, what’s the former Massachusetts governor to do?

While other candidates like Cain tout their unorthodox campaign, so far Romney appears to be following a mostly traditional path to capturing the Republican presidential nomination. He’s raising money at a steady clip, he’s the strongest contender in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, and all of a sudden, it looks like he’s taking Iowa more seriously.

A win in Iowa and a win in New Hampshire could be the knock-out blow that clinches the race for him much earlier than many have been anticipating. Today Romney embarks on his third trip to Iowa since announcing his candidacy. He will visit the Eastern part of the state, holding events in Dubuque and Davenport, places where he performed well in the 2008 Caucuses.

One of the reasons why the Romney campaign is taking another look at competing more aggressively in the Hawkeye State is to thwart rival Rick Perry’s ambitions there. Perry is already up on the air with a significant radio and television ad buy. And here’s an interesting dispatch from ABC’s Emily Friedman, who is on the ground in Iowa: “I had the TV on for fifteen minutes here in Dubuque and saw Rick Perry’s campaign ad twice.”


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