Recently I asked some very conservative friends who are Republican primary voters and “Anybody but Romney” club members to participate in a little poll I devised.
If Romney were the GOP nominee, which of the following would best describe you?
1. Definitely stay home and not vote
2. Might stay home and not vote
3. Fully support Romney as the nominee of the Republican Party
4. Vote for Obama in protest
5. Hold my nose and vote for Romney
6. Try to start a 3rd party (knowing historically that would help re-elect Obama)
7. Happily vote for Obama
To my surprise, answer number 5 was the overwhelming winner. The fact that the “nose-holders” prevailed at all could mean that despite Romney’s steady support from only 25% of GOP primary voters, these “Anybody but Romney” voters could eventually but reluctantly support him in November 2012.
And that is very good news for Romney but better news for the Republican Party, because Romney, at this juncture, is in a virtual tie with President Obama, who leads him by only 1.2%. But most revealing is how Romney out-performs Herman Cain, whom Obama leads by 8.2%, and Rick Perry, whom Obama trounces by 9.6%. Most interesting is that Ron Paul has the second best showing against Obama, who defeats him by “only” 6.2%.
With these general election poll numbers in mind, all Romney has to do is survive the primary process, and even that is looking more promising according to this latest CNN poll of GOP primary voters in the early primary/caucus states.
Under this scenario, in early 2012 Romney would quickly turn into Barack Obama’s worst nightmare as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
Ironically, Obama’s future strategy, like Rick Perry’s now, is to paint Romney as a “flip-flopper,” exactly what President George W. Bush’s “strategery” was against John Kerry in 2004.
Unfortunately for Perry, that is flawed strategy for two reasons. First, Perry should be building himself up, rather than tearing Romney down. But second and far worse, Perry will be supplying the Obama campaign with media content they will use against Romney in a general election.
But the “flip-flopper” label is easier to defend against than “right-wing radical” or “out of touch with main stream America” monikers Obama would use to the fullest extent if any of the viable candidates, except Romney, were to win the nomination. And even worse, in Perry’s case you could also expect a bumper sticker with “Bush 2.0 in 2012” with the Obama “O” logo used in the 2.0.