Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Voters Considering Romney Than Obama, Perry

One of the things I learned in 2008 is that it's probably better to not alienate your conservative blogging colleagues by attacking them for supporting this or that candidate during the primaries. I pissed off a couple of people back then, perhaps even Allahpundit. And it's hard to recover if you're a blogger looking for some linkage. I've worked hard to mend fences and make some new friends, and at this point I don't worry about driving traffic that much anyway. Conservatives are pretty fractured on the right (with some nasty dust ups over Rick Perry), but I'm not worrying about pissing folks off. I like who I like. It's been no secret. Back in '08 I was excited about John McCain's campaign because national security was the top issue for me and I thought McCain was the best candidate by far. A lot of folks had strong reactions against McCain, and by now the best thing I can say about him is that he nominated Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. This time around, my top issues are economic, especially the need to expand the economy and to reduce the national debt. Those preferences in turn relate to my hope that the U.S. will return to more limited government principles while still retaining a commitment to national security. That's why I've been a huge fan of Sarah Palin's for a long time. But she's delayed a decision to enter the race. So, Michelle Bachmann's campaign appealed to me for the same reasons. Bachmann's now struggling. If she can maintain some momentum until Iowa I think she could still be a contender in some of the early primaries, but she's close to long-shot territory. And after that? Well, as I said when he announced, I frankly don't know that much about Rick Perry and I'm still learning. His debate performance the other night was a disaster, apparently. And now the speculation is that Romney is recovering and positioning himself back atop the GOP field. See James Taranto, for example, "Everything's Coming Up Romney." And also, William Jacobson, "Post-Debate Diagnosis."

And according to Gallup, Romney's well positioned at this point vis-a-vis both Barack Obama and Rick Perry:

More registered voters say they would definitely vote for Mitt Romney or might consider doing so (62%) than say the same about his two main rivals in the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama (54%) and Republican Rick Perry (53%)...

At the moment, Romney has a greater reservoir of potential voter support than does either of his main rivals for the presidency. To prevail, Romney must convert as much of that potential support as possible to actual support. Should he defeat Perry for the nomination, his level of actual support among Republican voters should increase to levels approaching those Obama currently enjoys among Democratic voters. Perry's level of support among Republicans would probably also approach those levels if he wins the nomination.

Thus, a key to gauging candidate electability and ultimately the winner of the 2012 election will be the candidate's appeal to independent voters. Currently, Romney seems to have an edge in three respects: the greatest number of independent voters would definitely vote for him or consider voting for him; he leads Obama among independent voters in a head-to-head matchup; and he fares slightly better among independent voters in a head-to-head matchup with Obama than does Perry.
I've met Mitt Romney and I like him personally. His flip-flopping bothers me -- it bothers me a great deal -- but he's got the kind of "earnestness" -- to use James Taranto's term -- that lends itself to presidential leadership, and I mean genuine earnestness, not an arrogance that hides inexperience, as we've seen with President Obama.

So, while I don't think Mitt Romney's a genuine conservative, I like him. I've read his book and listened to him speak. He's a patriot and he seems pretty well-grounded concerning the problems facing the country. Let's see how it goes. If it's Romney by next March or so, I won't be be reluctant to support him.