Who says Mitt Romney is “unelectable”?
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A Quinnipiac University poll released last week had Mitt Romney three points ahead of Barack Obama in the key early primary state of Florida. And Romney’s favorable/unfavorable rating is better than any of the other candidates asked about in the poll — including Barack Obama. A CBS News poll released the same day as the Rasmussen data shows Romney two points ahead of Obama nationally, making Romney “the only GOP candidate to hold a lead over the president in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.” And a Saturday poll of South Carolina Republican voters shows Romney with massive 21-point lead over his closest rivals in the Palmetto State in the face of the most aggressive attacks yet faced by the Romney campaign.
To be sure, many polls show Obama ahead of Romney nationwide, but Romney leads every other Republican versus Obama with the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls having Obama ahead of Romney by less than two percent, as compared to leading Newt Gingrich by 9 points, Rick Santorum by 7 points, and Ron Paul by 5 points.
In political betting, after a week of intense assault by his Republican opponents and Democrats alike, Mitt Romney’s odds of winning the South Carolina primary, the Florida primary, and the Republican nomination have each climbed slowly upwards (to roughly 85 percent, 95 percent, and 87 percent, respectively.)
Furthermore, the anti-Bain onslaught has not dented Romney’s betting odds of winning the presidency itself, now standing just over 42 percent — a remarkably high number so early in the nominating process and against an incumbent president who won an overwhelming victory just three years ago.
Pundits and politicians of all political stripes keep telling us that Mitt Romney is not electable — or at least not as electable as we think. But the data simply doesn’t back them up. Furthermore, and I say this with the utmost respect to those talented political writers who are also on the “least electable” train, there’s a fair bit of projection going on:
Principled conservatives (and libertarians like me) wish that firm commitment to principle were the key factor in electability, especially having been through the last decade. In fact, it is barely a factor at all, at least during these days of extremely high unemployment and economic insecurity. People want results more than they want the candidate who is most right — in any sense of the word.
This may not portend well for our republic’s long-term prospects. But in the short term, for those who believe that our nation, and perhaps the world, can’t afford another four years of Barack Obama, it is hard to be as troubled by Mitt Romney as some others are.
Do Republicans really need the “most principled” candidate to be motivated to help him beat the most imperfect president in modern American history?
One clue to the answer is the Romney campaign’s $24 million fourth-quarter haul — nearly doubling his closest Republican rival. Few things are more important measures of electability and enthusiasm for the candidate than hard, cold campaign cash.
Perhaps fortunately, the public is not listening to the chattering classes who are saying that Mitt Romney can’t pull the Republican train to victory. Instead, they’re taking a closer look at Romney — policies, religion, Bain Capital and all — and saying “I think he can. I think he can.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?