Mitt Romney is comfortably in first place for the Republican Presidential Nomination race. Having won over 100 delegates to the Republican National Convention, Romney must capitalize on his campaign in the next month to come out victorious on Super Tuesday, a win that would bring him even closer to the nomination.
Recently the media have focused on showcasing his mistakes, such as his comment about the poor in Minnesota last week and his inability to connect with conservatives. Yet Romney has seemed to maintain the top spot in voter popularity. He won 39 percent of primary voters in New Hampshire, 46 percent in Florida and 50 percent in Nevada just this past Saturday. He’s created momentum in his campaign, but whether or not he will gain enough support to secure the nomination is still uncertain.
“The media is in love with the idea that people don’t like Romney,” Rachel Paine Caufield said. “The big story right now is that Romney can’t connect with voters, but he’s getting 50 percent of primary and caucus wins. I don’t know how you really improve on that. Those are pretty strong results for him.”
Caufield, an associate professor of politics at Drake, predicts Romney will receive the Republican presidential bid, so long as he continues to campaign effectively.
“Romney’s best trait is that he’s got this slow and steady attitude towards the race,” she said. “It’s a campaign of calculated risk and calculated reward. He hit his stride at about just the right time.”
Caufield noted that Romney would need to maintain this momentum to receive the bid, however. Politics and international relations professor Dennis Goldford said winning over conservatives would be Romney’s biggest challenge.
“Any particular ways he has altered his positions from what they used to be have been in a conservative direction,” Goldford said. “Romney is the guy your mom wants you to marry. He’s good looking, has lots of money, a great resume, a great job, but you don’t love him, and you don’t trust him. That’s the way Republicans feel about Romney, particularly conservatives.”
That lack of trust divides voters amongst the other candidates. This split of the votes between Santorum and Gingrich, along with victories on Super Tuesday and in large delegate states, is what Romney needs to maintain a successful campaign.
“Romney’s been playing a divide and conquer strategy,” Goldford said. “It’s in his interest for nobody to drop out just yet because it keeps fragmenting the field.”
Caufield warned Democrats to keep an eye on Romney, too. She said she sees many people taking the election for granted.
“I think among Democrats there’s this idea that Barack Obama is the same candidate that he was in 2008, and that same energy and excitement can be generated easily,” she said. “Mitt Romney is a formidable contender and anyone who isn’t taking him seriously is making a mistake.”
Despite an excellent strategy, a wide base of supporters and several victories under his belt, Romney is far from winning the race. Rick Santorum won the Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado primaries Tuesday, guaranteeing him over 40 delegates and moving him to second place, and Newt Gingrich is expected to triumph in the south. The campaign season has been fickle, and one wrong move could cost Romney the ticket.