Three Reasons Mitt Romney Hasn’t Caught on With Voters
How Romney’s wealth, religion and so-called indecisiveness lessen his appeal.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney isn’t resonating with GOP voters overall. Polls show that just about a quarter of the Republican electorate has consistently backed him. Because Romney has yet to expand his following among conservatives, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain (now out of the race) both bested Romney in various polls in past weeks. So why hasn’t Romney struck a chord with Republicans?
Get the lowdown with this list:
- Mitt Romney’s Mormonism proved to be a handicap in 2008, and the same holds true today. A CNN/Time poll released Dec. 7 revealed that 31 percent of born-again Christians support Gingrich compared to just 13 percent for Romney. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll produced similar figures, with Romney favored by just 14 percent of born-agains. In that poll, Gingrich won 39 percent of evangelical support. Romney consistently trails behind Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in evangelical support.
- Romney’s opponents have attacked him for being a flip-flopper, particularly on abortion rights. And while a Harris Poll released Wednesday shows that 44 percent of Americans agree with the “flip-flopper” characterization of Romney, National Public Radio recently aired a story suggesting that Romney may not have flip-flopped on abortion. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, pointed out to NPR that while Romney said he favored abortion rights during his run for Massachusetts governor, in office he vetoed a bill that would have given rape victims access to emergency contraception. Taking this stance in 2005 made Romney even more anti-abortion than other state governors. Biographer Ron Scott told NPR that Romney was always personally against abortion but didn’t immediately take that stance as an elected official.
- During Saturday’s Iowa debate, Romney’s massive wealth came to the forefront after he made a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry. Given that $10,000 is a few months salary for many Americans, that wager has led to characterizations that he’s out of touch with voters. As New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait noted on Monday, “All the presidential candidates, including President Obama, are rich by the standards of the average American. But Romney is especially rich, and not just numerically. He looks and sounds like a paragon of the upper class, with his regal appearance, precise diction, and dignified graying sideburns. This has forced him to defensively cast himself as a middle-class champion, foreswearing at every turn any interest in benefiting the rich.”