At the New York Times' Caucus blog, Michael Shear finds that, in spite of his probable win in Florida, Mitt Romney is facing trouble. Independents, in particular, are walking away in droves.
Mr. Romney’s campaign, which had been carefully calibrated for months in 2011 to set up a general-election contest with President Obama, ran into a conservative buzz saw in the first month of 2012 that exposed a series of potential threats to Mr. Romney’s long-term success.
The monthlong feud with Newt Gingrich has identified clear vulnerabilities for Mr. Romney on issues like his wealth, his work for Bain Capital, a private equity firm, the taxes he pays and his positions on immigration, Medicare and health care.
It also has cost Mr. Romney — at least for now — the generally likable image that he has nurtured for years. In polls during the last several weeks, the number of people who view him favorably has plunged, especially among independent voters who will likely decide the general election later this year.
In a Washington Post/ABC News poll last week, 49 percent of the respondents nationwide held an unfavorable view of Mr. Romney, while only 31 percent had a favorable one. That is a reversal from last September, when more people held a favorable view of Mr. Romney than an unfavorable one.
Independents, in particular, now have a less favorable opinion of Mr. Romney, with favorable opinions dropping from a high in the mid-40s in late November to a low of 23 percent last week, according to the Post/ABC News poll. ...NYT
The battle with Newt Gingrich is helping to erode support for Romney. If his win comes early, he may be able to pull his ratings up in time for the election. If. Maybe.