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Morning Jay: Mitt Romney and Conservatives, Myths, and Realities

8:00 AM, Feb 6, 2012 • By JAY COST
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(2) The Romney coalition in 2012 is more moderate than the Romney 2008 coalition was. In most of the early contests – at least outside the South – Romney secured the support of very conservative voters four years ago. That is not the case this time around, not nearly to the same extent. Even so, his coalition in 2012 is a hybrid of the McCain ’08 and Romney ’08 vote.

(3) This is a virtually unbeatable coalition, if he can maintain it. Romney has basically situated himself exactly in the middle of the GOP electorate: a plurality of his voters are somewhat conservative, with the remaining sampling from the moderates and the very conservatives. To defeat this coalition, an opponent would have to either steal some of his very conservative voters or cobble together a coalition that includes the far left and the far right of the electorate. Either would be a very difficult task to accomplish.

(4) This is not to say that conservative voters are happy with Romney. After all, they do not get to pick the candidates who appear on the ballot. A plurality of conservatives have, to date, preferred Romney over anybody else, but that does not mean he would be their first choice if candidates like Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, or Paul Ryan had tossed their hats into the ring. 

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