Jennifer, I would argue that Romney is running a two-track campaign. He is emphasizing “three-legged stool” conservatism for the Republican primary electorate and change/executive competence for the swing voters in a general election. (He may also see the need to re-brand a bit given the flip-flopping charges he’s faced in response to his moving right on social issues.) A sensible strategy, though so far it hasn’t had much impact in the polls. Romney lags badly in the national polls of people who intend to vote in next year’s Republican primaries and also fares worse than either Giuliani or Thompson in head-to-head matchups with the Democrats. So far, his best results are in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, through a combination of retail politics, advertising, organization, and the three-legged stool.
All that could very well change as Romney’s name recognition rises, but my guess is that Thompson knows where the numbers stand right now.