Romney in the Press

The American Spectator weighs in this week with a profile of Mitt Romney. It is a fair and honest portrayal of what the governor faces as a Republican presidential candidate emerging from Massachusetts. Most notably it raises the inevitable questions about his Mormon religion and his perceived softness on the abortion issue.

As I've noted here before, Romney may be the best candidate lining up on the Republican side. As a "pro-growth" Republican, his politics appeal to the biggest segment of the Republican Party and align well with many independents. Further, as a Blue State governor, he has at least some cross-over appeal with the most conservative of Democrats.

In self-selecting polls taken on several conservative blogs, Romney has consistently been in the top two or three, normally behind Giuliani and/or George Allen. At the Tennessee convention straw poll, he trailed only Frist, who had a home town advantage, but who has fared poorly in nationwide blog polling. Mitt is particularly strong with married Republicans and, somewhat surprisingly, has also done well with military folks.

It's an open question whether Giuliani will run. There is some speculation that he won’t. George Allen is popular with Washington insiders, but his days as a senator in Washington may be detrimental to his run for the presidency. Further, the Romney advantage in Iowa and New Hampshire is not captured well in nationwide polling. His moderate Republican style sells well in Iowa, and he is, for all intents and purposes, a native son of New Hampshire.

Frist, Newt, Hucklebee and the others have significant weaknesses with Republican primary voters and cannot be considered “first tier” candidates at this point. McCain has been anointed by the MSM as the frontrunner, but the press has no idea how unpopular McCain is with Republican activists, as can be seen in the low numbers he has drawn in the blog and straw polls.

The presidential races are still way off and it’s hard to make money on a candidate this far out. But the more that people see of Romney, the more they will come to appreciate his formidable skills as a candidate.

Stay tuned here for more news on Romney as he settles in for the long game.