Monday, March 19, 2012

GOP Heads to Illinois, McClatchy outlines Problems Faced by Romney in the Land of Lincoln

Romney trouble connecting to moderates? (Shown with Ron Paul) - image Libertarian

From: St. Louis Today: “Several Hurdles Ahead for Romney in Illinois”, a piece by David Lightman, McClatchy Newspapers, speaks to the problems that Mitt Romney faces going forward into Illinois. It is difficult to assess, which of the issues pointed out by the author, is the most difficult for Romney – one that was not mentioned as an issue and perhaps should have been was the opening paragraph noting that Romney’s ads are everywhere – if they are the negative ads run against Santorum in Mississippi and Alabama, one might not hesitate to put that in a negative column. Exit polls in those states showed the excessive negative advertising by the Romney campaign cost him votes, and was a net plus for Santorum. The list of issues highlighted in this piece includes:

His own “persona”, which apparently does not resonate with voters, is number one on the list. This is followed by a related litany “Romney is having trouble erasing doubts that he's too stiff, too politically inept and too insensitive to constituents who confront gasoline prices over $4 a gallon every time they drive down a street.”

The economy has not improved rapidly follows, however, Romney is touted as “Mr. Fix it”, therefore, if this appears to be a problem, he has not sufficiently sold the electorate on his skills (see above)

They are concerned about Santorum, spending millions more on ads, and adding campaign spots (see problem with negatives).

The Romney Camp counts the wins in Michigan and Ohio (slim victories, one with less than 1%) as having given him momentum, and that a loss in Illinois would be damaging.
Santorum is a problem, polling well in the Chicago Suburbs with “evangelicals” , and in the balance of the State – (note: in the poll referred to, Chicago Tribune, Romney was leading in the Chicago Suburbs only (but see population), with Santorum taking a larger lead in 95% (approximate) of the balance of the state).

Those voters seen as potential Romney voters do not appear enthused.

The problem form the perspective of this writer notes that Romney’s attempt at being Conservative has turned off the reliable moderate voter (i.e. Romney voter).

Above all it is his persona, which the article cites as the one reason Romney may not do as well as he potentially should in Illinois: Complete with quotes:

Romney's passion problem stems from two sources. One is his style, which many find wooden and distant.

"One word: Plastic," said Judy Thorne, a Mount Prospect, Ill., retiree.
"I just have this feeling he won't get things done. He's a little bit of a pushover," added Madeline Mainzer, a Niles microbiologist. "He's too influenced by people too much, and doesn't really know what he hopes to do."
Romney's other dilemma involves the economy. Voters routinely quote his recent gaffes about his wife's two Cadillacs or his friendships with NASCAR or professional football team owners.

While the economy has begun to recover in this state, people remain uneasy.
Craig Ochoa, a Hanover Township, Ill., highway commissioner, found that while the economy "may be changing for big manufacturers, for most people things aren't changing as much as they would like.

"That's the issue," he said. "Most people couldn't tell you the difference between a conservative and a liberal."

In fairness to all candidates, which would include President Obama, if they do not appeal to the party base, in the beginning of the campaign stages, and then move to the middle after the nomination process, they stand a chance of going no-where. Obama, however, has a personality that is charismatic, which, when marketed correctly, overcame the dual-messages necessary to get him elected.

Romney, when attempting to appeal to the base, falls flat, and this attempt, although well played, has not garnered the support of the base (going to Santorum and then Gingrich), and at the same time has alienated the moderates – that is the difficulty that all candidates face in the information age 24/7 news cycle, - one can say something in Peoria, and it is news in Idaho Falls. If a candidate can stick to principles, and his person elicits trust, be that candidate a conservative or a liberal, those qualities will bring them to the nomination (most often), and once nominated, the onus is on the candidate to either moderate their message, and move slightly to the center – the most successful in doing so, was Ronald Reagan, who was dismissed as too conservative to take the nomination by the establishment GOP (who preferred he more moderate George H Bush), and the media threw everything in the book at Reagan, from questioning his intellect, to the fact that he was “conservative”. However, he maintained his base, and moved only slightly to the middle – of course, he had Jimmy Carter to run against.

Obama, who is similar in style to Carter, would find a conservative Candidate difficult to best. This may be why a Chicago group of Obama campaign activists headed to the island of Puerto Rico (and Romney does very well in all the territories), to denounce Santorum. It may be the polling that shows Santorum besting Obama in key states - Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, while Obama Bests Romney by 2 points. (Rasmussen). This calls into question which candidate the President would prefer to run against: the one that the media supports, or the one which the media takes every opportunity to maligned.

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