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Is Romney Losing the Enthusiasm Race?

The first USA TODAY/Gallup Swing States Poll since the GOP settled on moderate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as its presumptive Presidential nominee shows an interesting dynamic for Romney and the GOP.

After the Republican Party nominated one of the most moderate candidates in the field, enthusiasm for Romney is down among self-identified GOP moderates and Romney’s likely victory or defeat now hinges on “swing states” where Tea Party backed candidates made strong showings in the 2010 Tea Party wave election.

Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin are the swing states Romney needs to win to be elected.  Key states, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida that contributed to Obama’s 365 to 173 electoral vote blow-out of the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 are in play at this time – barely.

Evidence of Romney's problem in Tea Party influenced states is that while Tea Party and conservative-backed office holders are solidifying their popularity, he does not seem to be benefiting from their popularity.

In the state of Michigan, one of Romney’s “home” states where he narrowly won the Republican primary.  Romney’s post-primary approval fell and he trails Obama by 6 points or more – Democratic polling firm PPP has Obama leading Romney by 16 in Michigan.

In contrast, Obama’s job approval rating has gone up from 42 percent in September to 50 percent today, and his disapproval rating has dropped from 50 percent to 45 percent.

Michigan's Tea Party backed Governor Rick Snyder's approval rating of 38 percent in September has now hit 50 percent in the state. The Governor's disapproval rating is now down to 36 percent, compared to 46 percent in September.

Tea Party backed Florida Governor Rick Scott, whose “shakeup Tallahassee” agenda cost him some popularity as he made tough calls on the budget, has gone up 10 points recently and is now at 43 percent, statistically the same as Obama’s 43 percent.  Romney’s multi-million dollar carpet bombing of Newt Gingrich in Florida gained him exactly 1 point over Obama to place him at 43 percent.

In Pennsylvania, after Rick Santorum dropped out, Romney didn’t run his usual barrage of negative ads.  According to the Quinnipiac poll, Romney actually lost five points while running virtually unopposed in the Pennsylvania primary, and now trails Obama 47 percent to 39 percent.

Since March, Obama has gained two points while Romney lost three. Despite campaigning in the state, Romney still has a negative approval rating, with only 35 percent approving and 39 percent disapproving. Obama’s approval rating in Pennsylvania is 51 percent approve to 43 disapprove.

The states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, were three of the top states where the Tea Party wave swept new constitutional conservative members into Congress.  In Florida, four of the seven new Republicans were elected with significant Tea Party support, in Ohio the Tea Party backed candidates contributed five freshmen to the House Republican ranks, and in Pennsylvania four out of the five new Republicans in the delegation were elected with strong Tea Party support.

As Gallup noted, this enthusiasm gap is hurting Romney, “Obama's swing-state prospects also look a bit brighter than Romney's on the basis of voter enthusiasm. More than half of Obama's supporters, 55 percent, are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in this year's presidential election, up from 49 percent saying this in March. By contrast, 46 percent of Romney's supporters are extremely or very enthusiastic, unchanged from 47 percent in March. Today's figures reflect a reversal from January, when 55 percent of Romney voters were extremely or very enthusiastic, compared with 50 percent of Obama voters.”

In most of the so-called “swing” states, the recent progress made by the GOP has been powered by Tea Party enthusiasm and Tea Party backed candidates.  Unfortunately for Romney, while liberal and moderate support for him has predictably waned, the Tea Party enthusiasm that has been winning elections for the GOP in those key “swing states” has yet to rub-off on him.

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Tired of Richard and other so called conservs picking, picking..

As a conserv since I was 15,am now 73, I am tired of Vig. and the so called conserv elites picking on the Pubs , Mitt, while the real enemy, and I do mean enemy is Obama and every Dem in all 50 states. Enough of the griping and hand wringing. Get out and get behind Mitt even if he and his DC elites are not our faves. He is far better as are every Pub candidate running in 2012 than any Libertarian, Dem, Constitutional candidate . Why? Because they can actually get elected and finally stop the tyranny that is killing all of us. In a word, Richard, shut up and support. Every time you write, you gripe. Gripe about the liberals and the socialists. Leave our people alone. We are under the gun Richard. Or haven't you in your Ivory Tower seen that?  BTW, I was a teacher for 48 yrs., the only conserv in my college faculty lounge and a pastor for 20 years. So stop thinking only you know what America needs. We do not need disunity. We need unity now to defeat the worse Prez in our history.

Do you not get it?

Romney is Obummer is Romney... If you want a Conservative as you say you are, there is only one running for Pres! Vote Ron Paul and put an end to this duopoloy that has screwed this country up for generations. Have some courage and vote outside the box they (dems and repubs) keep pushing you back in!

The conservatives I know...

... are falling behind the nominee. There is far more enthusiasm than there would've been with Santorum, as anyone with libertarian leanings would've sat on his hands and people with Tea Party sentiments would have learned more about his record. The fact that PA is in play at all is refreshing -- we know how well Santorum played there in 2006.

Shame on you Conservative HQ

"Mitt Romney as its presumptive Presidential nominee"  

What is the Conservative HQ strategy?  You're backing a candidate you don't believe in and who has little to no chance of winning against Obama.  You're trying to elect Obama and hurting your own credibility to be a significant leader in the Conservative movement at the same time. 

Have you been paying attention to what is happening within the Ron Paul camp?  Almost daily, he is holding meetings with 2,000 - 10,000 people showing up.  Talk about enthusiasm.  And your organization needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into paying attention to a candidate who actually represents the issues you claim to care about.  (At least you're covering some of the Ron Paul articles written by other organizations again.  How about writing some of your own articles that support Ron Paul?)

Have you been paying attention to the delegate situation?  Ron Paul has taken majorities of GOP National delegates in Massachusetts, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Maine and more.  He is on a roll.  A little boost from an organization that claims to support conservative causes and you could actually get a conservative as the GOP nominee that polls show is doing better than Romney against Obama.

Are you planning on a major defeat in November in the hopes that it will revitalize conservative voters to get behind you even more the next time?  Why would they do that when you are currently leading us so badly astray this time!

Are you really working for Obama or perhaps the same sponsors as Obama and Romney (Goldman Sachs, Bank of Ameerica, etc.)?  That is starting to appear to be more likely what is behind your refusal to support a candidate who supports conservative causes and can actually win in November.

That is what I see

You are dead on here, conservatives are being sold out by Romney and the fakes that are now endorsing him after rightfully pointing out what a terrible fake he is.

The fact that the scum trying to convince us to vote for the fake Romney is beyond insulting.


   It looks like Mitt Romney will possibly get the nomination. While I preferred another candidate I will support Mitt> The country can not

survive another 4 years of Obama and crew. Any one launchinng a 3rd party or independent bid is sure to get Obama relected.

 Yes Ron Paul has some great ideas but I don't think he can garner enough votes over all support to win.


Let's Look at Electability

Elections are decided by two major constituencies.  The centrist swing voters + the ability to mobilize the party base.

1) Swing Voters 

Ron Paul - ranks extremely high compared to Romney with disaffected democrates.  Paul ranks substantially better than Romney with the independents.  Most importantly, these are votes he is taking away from Obama.  Obama's base is very soft (see the 40% who voted for a felon in prison rather than vote for Obama.) His disaffected base is large and Ron Paul can get them.  This is supported by the recent Rasmussen poll regarding a 3 way race with Romney, Paul and Obama.  Paul took more voters from Obama than he did from Romney.

Romney - does very poorly with disaffected dems and doesn't do quite as well as Paul with independents.  The independents and disgruntled dems who don't vote for Romney, are likely to go back to Obama if they vote.  This swings the vote balance by 2 for every person Romney loses in this category (1 less for Romney plus 1 more for Obama).  

Put another way, if you put up Romney up against Obama, you will galvanize the democratic base against the GOP.  If you put up Paul, he wins the democratic base over.

2) Current GOP Support

Ron Paul - The Paul faction of the GOP base is very enthusiastic.  He has rallied 2,000-10,000 people at every campaign stop this past month.  They are doing lots of research on GOP proceedures and showing up in very large numbers to take over state GOP operations.  They are very motivated!  The rest of the GOP base and leadership is currently soft on him.  Some of the softness is because of lack of knowledge being fostered by a media that is pushing Romney.  (Makes you wonder who the media is ultimately supporting.  Most of them tend to support dems...)

Romney - Has strong support from the GOP leadership but tepid support from the GOP voters. Even with strong support from the GOP leadership, he has not be able to inspire any large turnouts at his rallies.  Venues are downsized and the Romney's camp has to resort to paying $8 + a chance at a big prize in order to get voters to send in a $1 donation.  That's how unenthusiastic his GOP base is.  

3) GOP Base Flexibility re: Nominee 

How likely is a current GOP base voter to switch from supporting Romney or Paul?

Ron Paul - The GOP base that currently supports Romney is not vehemently against Paul.  He is not a polished speaker, looks older and may not match 100% of the policies that are desireable.  His foreigh policy differences are marked but fundamentally support strong national security rather than interventionism.  Better yet, the GOP base that is not convinced to support Paul is not likely to vote for Obama or write Romney in as a protest. 

Romney - The GOP base that currently supports Paul is vehemently against Romney. The Paul supporters see too little difference between the candidates in the issues that matter to them.  The Paul supporters are determined to write him in rather than vote for Romney.  The write in contingent could represent as much as 10 - 30% of the GOP base right now.  


Ron Paul wins with the swing voters, has a much more mobilized support base and has less resistance with his opposition in the GOP.

Romney does not do as well with the swing voters and has stiff resistance with his opposition in the GOP base but strong support from the GOP leadership.

If you really want the GOP to win, we need to convert the soft elements of the GOP base and the party leadership to unite behind Ron Paul.  He's more electable.

Romney never had and never will have ANY...

... enthusiastic backing. That market belongs to Ron Paul! Get behind him and beat Obama!

I dislike him more each day

As Glen Beck says, at least as far as we know, he is not a communist. 

But I beginning to hope Ron Paul can upset the Convention or I may start backing Gary Johnson.

It is really hard to support someone who you think will be as bad for the country as Obama.


The only enthusiasm that I have seen in this primary contest belongs to the Ron Paul supporters.  I went to our county convention in Texas, and out of hundreds of people there, I only saw one Romney button.  Ron Paul is drawing crowds of 5,000+, and Romney cannot draw anything close to those numbers.  I do not see any way that Romney can generate the enthusiasm necessary to defeat Obama this fall.  Unfortunately, we are saddled with another John McCain moderate type that does more damage to the GOP than good.  I was very active in the Ronald Reagan campaign (1976 against Gerald Ford), and it was very similar in that the youth were backing Reagan and fighting the Republican establishment the entire way.  The party will ignore the youth at it's own peril.

Gregg Moseman

Was There Ever Enthusiasm

Romney is more of the same. Yawn

Don't Shake the Etch-A-Sketch - Draw in Bold Strokes!

I worked, as did many here, first for (almost) "Anybody But Romney", however, with the endgame always in mind of "Anybody But Obama", I can't say I'm thrilled with Romney's ascendanmce, but he's what we've got.

In accordance with my natural inclination to make the best of what we have, I can see some good points about Romney, not the least of which appears to be his willingness to actually go after the president on issues, and not wait for the Dems to set the agenda.

The big danger is the number of conservatives who are tuning out in disgust, or threatening to vote 3rd party. The task for conservatives, barring a miracle at the convention, is to get all conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans on board for the same goal - Obama Must Go!

The task for Romney is that he must tend to his right flank - no shaking the etch-a-sketch and moving to the middle, but rather, laying out in broad bold strokes his plan for restoring America - he has to sell himself to the conservatives in order to build their enthusiasm. The good news is that Obama is having as bad, or maybe a worse time with his left flank, but victory only comes to those who work for it.

BTW, If you haven't seen "Obama Isn't Working", you may get some strange new respect for Gov Romney:

Also see my note on the subject:

I refuse to vote for

I refuse to vote for corruption. I'm not even listening any longer. I don't care who he chooses as VP. We ran that play last time only to be Bush-wacked by incompetents like Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt who voted for Obama.

Besides any governor of a state that was ranked 47 out of 50 is unqualified for the job.

The GOPe must go. After that beating the socialists will be a walkover.

This election is not about Republican verses Democrat. It is the political class against the country class.

I reside in Florida and I have zero respect for Etch-a-sketch and his Bush-wacking corruptocrats.

Agree completely--not Romney, never

Agree in every point above.  Obama is all the evil they say he is.  And if Romney's one term as Massachussets governor had a son, it would look like Obama's first term as president.  It's time to ditch the GOP.