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December 10, 2011

A Note About Romney's "Superior Electabilty"

Back in November 2010, PPP found Huckabee and Romney to be the strongest contenders vs Obama. CNN confirmed it Nov 4th, releasing a poll that had Huckabee leading Obama 52 – 44 percent, and Romney leading 50-45. Over the course of late 2010/early 2011, Huckabee decided against running, while Romney remained a contender for the White House.

The candidates who were running in the last cycle, who have had longest amount of time to leave an impression on the public at large, polled the strongest. When Obama is at his weakest, these "de facto" options polled great. When Obama has had a good week, even Romney's numbers have sunk.

Romney's strong polling is more of an effect of his being a "default Obama alternative" for much of the voting public, as opposed to an actual preference. When the other candidates this cycle have hit their stride, they too had decent numbers. Their deficit to Obama would shrink, sometimes besting the President. Perry was matching Romney nationally in performance before his debate stumbles. Cain was approaching Romney levels in Nevada, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina before the gaffes and affairs. Now we are seeing polling out of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida which show Gingrich's numbers against Obama have improved month-to-month as he has risen in the primary, besting Obama by 1 in the Buckeye state.

Yes, it is possible that Romney may have support amongst independent voters the other candidates currently lack in bluer states, but that doesn't mean the rest of the field can't do the same given a few months on the campaign trail.

Romney polls strongest against the President. He damn well should- he's been running against him for four fucking years. The question shouldn't be why the rest of the field runs so poorly- but why Romney's numbers against the President haven't improved.

I have posted constantly about Pennsylvania. Reviewing all the polling data, the Romney-Obama hypothetical there hasn't budged. Romney started this cycle tied with the President there, and he remains so. Romney remains deadlocked with the President. It is a great position to start at (within the margin of error in Nevada, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and if that FD poll is to be believed, New Jersey). But failing to move those numbers towards you over a full year?

I think a lot of you suspect I have been pushing Romney by constantly citing the polling data being pumped out by various firms, almost all of it showing Romney with a clear advantage over his Republican counterparts against the President. The only thing I care about at this point is beating President Obama. I could frankly care less if it was a homeless guy who smelled like an occupy encampment. Romney has been a Republican default option for years. In a way, he is the "generic republican" we joke about that always wins hypothetical battles. The eventual nominee should see his numbers equal Romney's as he becomes the alternative heading into the general.

The President is facing abysmal approval ratings in most of the purple states and even the light-blue ones. Figure out who in these states are most inclined to vote against the President, find a nominee who will effectively connect with them, and you've got the White House. No "RINO" necessary.

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posted by CAC at 12:23 PM

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