Romney May Win New Hampshire But Still Has Hill To Climb To Win Hearts

Posted on January 10, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

By Carl Chancellor

As expected, voters in New Hampshire gave Mitt Romney his second win in as many contests Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. He pulled in more than 39 percent of the vote outdistancing his nearest opponent in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas who got almost 24 percent of the vote, by more than 15 percentage points.

In his victory speech the former Massachusetts governor told his supporters “tonight we made history.” Indeed Romney is the first Republican candidate since 1976 to notch wins in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

For weeks the former Massachusetts governor has topped all of the Granite State tracking polls. As recently as Jan. 1, Romney was besting his nearest opponent by better than 26 percentage points (43 percent to Ron Paul’s 17 percent, Suffolk University Poll). However, after barely squeaking out a nine-vote victory in Iowa, Romney has seen his once overwhelming lead in New Hampshire steadily shrinking. The same Suffolk poll on Jan. 8 had Romney dropping 8 points, to 35 percent, while Paul surged to 20 percent, although in the end Romney gained momentum.

Just as telling, Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who finished second to Romney in Iowa, has seen a significant uptick in his poll numbers. On Jan. 1, the Suffolk poll had Santorum at 3 percent, by Jan. 8, that number had jumped to 8 percent with other polls putting him as high as 12 percent. In the end he finished in a virtual tie with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for fourth-place with slightly more than 9 percent of the vote.

And while he came out on top in New Hampshire, many pundits are still saying there is an enthusiasm gap when it comes to Romney and Republican voters. Ruth Marcus, political writer with the Washington Post, wrote in her column last week about the ambivalent feeling many in the Iowa caucuses had for Romney. She wrote that many caucus goers displayed a “combination of grudging resignation and outright hostility” toward Romney. Further, she noted that many Iowans who voted for Romney did so even though their hearts were with different candidates. “Those who were Romney backers used words like ‘electable’ and “most likely to win,” wrote Marcus.

The same lukewarm embrace of Romney seems to be playing out in New Hampshire.

As late as Sunday, a poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire found that 8 percent of voters were still undecided, and only 44 percent said that they were definite about their final choice.

Next stop; South Carolina. With a good showing here on Jan. 21 Romney could seal the deal. According to a CNN poll taken Jan. 4-5, Romney is ahead in the polls, backed by 37 percent of those likely to vote in the South Carolina primary.

However, voters in this socially conservative state could upset the Romney apple cart by going strongly for Santorum, Gingrich or even Texas Gov. Rick Perry, each man having much more solid conservative credentials than Romney.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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One Response to “Romney May Win New Hampshire But Still Has Hill To Climb To Win Hearts”

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Well this is my favorite season, the presidential elections, and the stakes are enormous. It wont matter who the Republicans select from the current field or later entrants, the US voter will have a stark choice. The influence of what appears to be a small group of “business” people, right wing financiers seems to have limited the GOP Agenda to a program that will erode if not destroy the US middle class- completing the diminution begun by the ongoing housing crisis, adding the decimation of careers. The GOP platform will likely be decidedly anti citizen, pro -war; and place even more control of public policy in private sector (unaccountable) hands. There will be a huge amount of money spent to cloud those facts, scapegoating unions, the poor so forth. Now the battle of truths vs. political truths is underway. It will be fascinating.

Romney may be the press consensus as front runner, but there is an estimable popular surge behind Ron Paul. His ideas are bold -i think will pop like balloons in the glare of reason and analysis,- but they beguile the young and inexperienced. Their appeal to selfishness and wealth is a siren song to some among the young.

So the stage is set for now, and the performances are sometimes comic, but the drama of it all –is compelling.


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