December 15, 2011

Romney Round-up: Don't settle too soon

There's three news items I'd like to tie together here concerning the GOP primaries and Mitt Romney.

Rasmussen has a poll showing Mitt Romney 'surging' back into first based on some fall-off in Gingrich support.

That's an interesting development.  But I suspect it's because the Romney campaign has a stronger ground game, in fact gamer period, than Gingrich in Iowa and that advantage is starting to show up in polling results;
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Newt Gingrich’s improbable comeback may fall short if he doesn’t win Iowa — and there are signs he’s not taking the threat of defeat seriously enough.

Gingrich is getting pounded on Iowa TV by both a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC and Ron Paul’s campaign and is doing little to fight back against ads which take direct aim at him. Less than three weeks before the caucuses, the former speaker is airing a single commercial with little money behind it.

And while Gingrich’s top rivals here flood the airwaves, three of his lesser challengers — all vying for the same swath of undecided conservative votes — began barnstorming the state in an intensive retail push before the January 3rd vote.

Gingrich’s response suggests a lack of urgency: on Wednesday he held a wonky seminar on brain science in this liberal college town. He had plans to return to Washington for a book-signing after Thursday’s debate in Sioux City, without scheduling any public events in the conservative-heavy northwest corner of the state.
That's problematic if there's to be a consensus solidified non-Romney candidate to challenge Romney for the leadership.  Gingrich may have peaked a bit too early, though I don't expect his fall-off to be as stark as it was for Bachmann, Cain or Perry.

The last element that concerns me about this is the commonly held notion that only Romney has a chance of beating Obama next year.  Obama is losing yet another, unexpected demographic that shows his vulnerability this election and reinforces the fact that nominating Romney reflects a real settling on conservative values versus electability.  It's too soon to make a call like that.
President Obama is losing support within a key part of his 2008 election coalition: The young.

On the other hand, most 18-to-29-year-olds still back Obama over such Republican alternatives as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, according to a new poll from Harvard University.

Our Gannett colleague Chuck Raasch fills us in on the survey:

Approval of President Obama has fallen to 46% among 18-29 year-olds, a key part of his coalition in 2008, according to a poll by Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

The survey of 2,028 Americans often described as millennials, taken from Nov. 23-Dec. 3, showed that 51% disapproved of the job the president was doing. Obama's approval was down 9 percentage points since Harvard's last survey of this age group in February.

Obama's biggest drop this year was among young Hispanics and college students. Only 35% of white millennials approve of the president; 83% of blacks and 52% of Hispanics did.

Obama won 18-29 year-olds by more than 2-1 over Republican John McCain in 2008.

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