Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why the Conventional Wisdom About Romney's Organization is Wrong; South Carolina Voters Disbelieve Romney is "Most Electable" Myth

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich won a huge victory in South Carolina's primary.  Gingrich finished with 40% of the vote while Mitt Romney had 27%.  The 13% spread reflected a more sizable Gingrich victory than even the latest polls were predicting.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich

In a race for third place, Rick Santorum edged out Ron Paul, 17% to 13%.

A number of political analysts have suggested that this is the end of the road for the former House speaker, that Gingrich doesn't have the organization that Romney has and therefore won't be able to compete in the races ahead.  I don't buy that and here's why.  Romney can have a great organization in every state to come, the problem though is at the end of the day when voters go to vote and see a ballot with a Romney choice and a non-Romney choice .  Head-to-head, with a single anti-Romney, Romney loses.

An unpopular candidate can be rehabilitated if he or she is not well known.  But if the candidate is very well known by the electorate and disliked, all the organization and money the candidate has cannot fix that perception of the candidate.  Romney is strongly disliked by 2/3 of Republicans.  Even if he is lucky enough to get the nomination, the narrow band of establishment Republicans who support him will not provide enough of a foundation to win a general election.  Most people in this country, when asked an ideology refers to themselves as "conservative."  Nominating a Massachusetts liberal turned moderate turned pretend conservative isn't a way to win a general election.

Finally, an overlooked story out of South Carolina is that the voters of that state rejected the notion that Mitt Romney is the most electable.  Exit polls showed that of South Carolina voters who said "electability" was the key factor in their vote, 50% voted for Gingrich while Romney received 40%.   Romney's chief argument for his nomination from the beginning has been that he is the "most electable."  If voters in other states follow South Carolina's lead in viewing Gingrich as the most likely to beat President Obama, the case for nominating Romney is over.


Nicolas Martin said...

Republicans are devotees of what is commonly known as moral relativism.

Cato said...

When they leave the Stupid States, the appeal of Gingrich and Santorum will wane.

M Theory said...

I am sure there is a logical explanation for the Gingrich win, even though he had to cancel an appearance because he couldn't fill the hall.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Cato, I highly think the supporting Romney somehow equates with intelligence.

Paul K. Ogden said...


The major part of Gingrich's appeal is he is not named Romney and people think he can beat Obama.