Romney is a Frontrunner, but Fails to Excite Conservatives

Posted December 28th, 2011 at 6:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Mitt Romney, a businessman turned politician, is for the second time trying to earn the Republican Party's nomination as its presidential candidate.

With the economy dominating the political landscape, Romney's campaign is highlighting his private sector experience transforming failing companies into profitable ventures. His campaign says it gives him the know-how to turn around the fortunes of the deficit- and debt-ridden United States.

Romney also hopes to convince voters he has the best shot at beating President Barack Obama in the 2012 general election.

Peter Brown, from the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, says polls gives weight to this argument.

“The data indicate that independent voters and some moderate Democrats might be more likely to vote for him than they are for the other, or most of if not all of the other, potential Republican nominees. ”

Romney consistently polls among the top candidates in the crowded Republican primary field. But he is not always the frontrunner: a number of other candidates have taken turns in the lead.

Brown says this is because Romney does not resonate with the right-wing of the party.

“Strongly conservative voters, many who call themselves Tea Party members, worry that he is not sufficiently conservative. On the other hand, should he win the nomination, that perception if held by the general electorate might make him more attractive to independent voters, who are the key group in the general election in November.”

But Republican strategist Christian Ferry says conservative voters will not elect a candidate solely based on his potential against Mr. Obama.

“I think that everyone likes to try to say that electability can be a good issue in a primary election, but I think that more people are looking for candidates that reflect their views and that they believe in.”

One of the key issues working against Romney is that as Massachusetts governor he overhauled the state's health care program in a manner often cited as the model for Mr. Obama's federal health care legislation. Many Republicans regard both reforms as examples of the government overstepping its authority.

Romney is also accused of changing his mind on several important issues, such as whether to support legal abortion.

And Romney is a member of the Mormon church — a religious group that believes in the Christian Bible but also follows teachings from their founder and a holy book separate from the Bible. No Mormon has been president of the United States and some Americans see the religion as a fringe group or a cult.

Ferry says he does not think Romney's religion will be a factor.

“I don't think that at the end of the day, when you have issues such as nine percent unemployment, two wars, a global financial collapse that people are interested in fighting that fight. I just don't see that being a huge hindrance for him.”

The 64-year-old Romney comes from a political family. He is the son of a former Michigan governor who ran for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1968.

Romney studied law and business at Harvard University, and gained considerable wealth as a businessman. He has also been an active member of his church and served in a senior position at the church in Massachusetts.

In 1999, he was tapped to run the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and under his wing the organization hosted games widely viewed as successful.

He lost his 2008 campaign to be the Republican presidential nominee, but the attempt raised his profile and gave him a head start for this year's nomination race. Republican strategist Ferry says Republicans often like to nominate someone who has run before. And he says, unlike in 2008, when the dominant issue was the war in Iraq, Romney's business background positions him well for a race focused on the economy,