Mitt Romney, Frontrunner of Sorts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 9 2010 11:52 AM

Mitt Romney, Frontrunner of Sorts

Public Policy Polling, which came off looking pretty good on Tuesday, finds Mitt Romney commanding 40 percent support in New Hampshire's 2012 GOP presidential primary. That's 27 points higher than his nearest rival, Mike Huckabee, and 8 points higher than Romney's total in the 2008 primary.

The problem: Romney's support is wide but not deep. Take the PPP results in Illinois:

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There Huckabee's at 18%, Gingrich at 17%, Palin at 14%, and Romney all the way back at 12%. An interesting explanation for Romney's poor showing in Illinois is that Tim Pawlenty (7%) and Mitch Daniels (6%) register higher than they do elsewhere. The two of them are particularly strong with Romney's otherwise strong core of moderate voters, getting a total of 18% of the GOP centrist vote between the two of them.

And so some amount of the Romney vote is a generic vote for the presidential-looking Republican who came second in the primaries. There's no sense of how many Romney voters know about his Massachusetts health care plan, which was not much of an issue in 2008, so you see why no one's being scared out of the race.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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