By Moussa Hassoun
Here we have it! The Republican Party must finally accept Mitt Romney as their nominee. Ron Paul didn’t have a chance, Newt Gingrich went down swingin’, then back up, then down again, and Santorum rallied the wrong crowds with his sweater vest (who else was running?).
Romney has managed to win majority votes in key states that have propelled him to the top. Rather than floating his campaign on fiery rhetoric (Newt), introduce 18th century reforms (Ron), and concentrate on divisive social issues (Rick), Romney used the economy to attract most Republicans.
Of course, he has addressed other things important to Republicans with caution, but so long as he had the people’s confidence in his economic policy, he tied himself to the nomination long ago. Now as Romney drafts his acceptance speech of the party nomination, most Republicans are reconsidering him.
In recent polls against Obama, the President has only had a three-point lead over Romney, within the margin of error. In a Rasmussen poll, Romney was even ahead by a point (also within the margin of error). With that said, the President does hold leads in more polls over Romney than not, but the fight will now move away from party squabbling to the general election.
I’m eager to see a strong general election to help myself and others challenge Obama’s policies. The only thing keeping us from that is Mitten’s image problem.
First, a recent poll showed that 56 percent of voters “like” Obama more than Romney.
Furthermore, in April, Mitt hit the lowest approval rating of a presidential candidate (since they began documenting). This is made even worse when measuring women, who are a majority of the voting bloc.
Among female voters, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 12 points. Yet, Mitt’s female problem isn’t his entire fault. Republican attacks against reproductive rights have refueled the anger of millions of women around the country.
All-male panels in Congress on contraception and crazy state abortion laws have displayed Republicans as the anti-female party. Meanwhile, Republican women haven’t been very vocal in addressing these issues to give him and the party he will be leading more credibility.
Of course, all is not bad. Among married women, Mitt wins over Obama by 3 points, but with single women, Obama carries by an astounding 36 point lead.
On top of female problems, Mitt’s image is further troubled by his well-intended statements to relate to the common man. When asked about if he likes Nascar, he used the opportunity to connect with the average Joe by telling a story of his good multi-millionaire friend that owns a team.
When asked about his speaking fee, worth tens of thousands of dollars, he calmly tells the media that he doesn’t even make that much money. Meanwhile, he installs a car elevator in one of his mansions. An elevator. For his car.
He also struggles with his professional image as he’s usually depicted as the company crushing, buying and selling CEO he was at Bain. Finally, his article calling for the fall of Detroit didn’t really help him connect with voters.
Of course, none of this is to say that he should apologize for being successful. He’s provided marvelously for his family and deserves due respect. However, it does mean that for a politician as steadfast as a flag he does a horrible job at controlling his personal image and likeability.
President Obama built his last campaign on image. “Hope” and “Change.” Epic pictures of him staring off into the distance. The image of a young, smart, black man against an old, white, man. The contrast couldn’t be greater and more in favor of Obama.
Of course, most voters voted on policy, be it social or economic, but his image control sealed the deal. Mitt Romney needs that.
This is the final run to the Presidency of the United States. We all want to see a challenge to the current administration. That’s why Newt, Rick and Ron never made it. Captain Pragmatic will seal the nomination for the Republicans. He just needs to be more pragmatic about his image. Once he’s over that hump, substantive debate can be had when two likeable candidates run against one another.
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