Is Mitt Romney Re-electable?

Romney's disapproval ratings (click to enlarge)

For reasons that have not been explained well to me, Mitt Romney has been assumed to be a highly electable candidate for the office of the president of the United States.

Thankfully, some people are beginning to scrutinize that assumption.

But let's assume for the sake of argument that Romney can win the GOP nomination and then go on to beat Barack Obama. That would lead us to another important question: Is Mitt Romney re-electable?

Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts would raise some concern about that question. You see, Mitt Romney only served one term as governor, and looking at the precipitous drop in his approval ratings might cause one to wonder whether Romney would know how to get himself re-elected.

Mitt Romney won the Massachusetts gubernatorial election in 2002 with less than 50% of the vote (49.77%). With an underwhelming victory of that magnitude, it's no wonder Romney chose not to run for re-election.

Romney might have us believe that he could have won a second term if he had wanted it, but by the time Massachusetts voters had picked Romney's Democratic replacement in November of 2006, Romney's approval ratings were down to the low 30s and his disapproval ratings were as high as 65 percent!

Among all of the governors in the 50 states, Mitt was ranked #48 in popularity.

Why is Mitt Romney considered a safe choice for the GOP nomination?


  1. Interesting find and another fact that needs to be addressed by the "Mitt is inevitable" crowd.

  2. Mitt won in Massachusetts because he is a liberal republican. His popularity waned in Massachusetts BECAUSE he was not liberal enough for the majority of the voting public.

    Actually people in Massachusetts are quite frugal in their personal affairs {as is most of New England) but quite liberal in their social thinking.

    I once worked directly for the president of a company I was employed with a while back who was very conservative in a fiscal sense and managed finances well for the business. At the same time he was very liberal in the social sense and often said I was just to the left of Attila the Hun and slightly to the right of Genghis Khan, or something like that. Anyway Romney may well be that fiscal conservative yet quite liberal when it comes to social welfare issues.

  3. Wondering how one can be a "fiscal conservative" while being liberal in social welfare issues... Oxymoron?

  4. It is my belief that the country may be splitting into two camps which are different than the two camps we have become accustomed to. In the past it has been essentially right vs left with some variation and sub groups.

    I think the new split will be intrusive government vs less intrusive government.

    If I am correct about that, then to the extent that both political parties fall into the "intrusive government" category, the need for the two political parties we now have will be significantly diminished. In which case, why settle for "intrusive lite" when you can have the real thing?

    One or the other will simply fade away. Romney may end being the odd man out in such a future scenario.

  5. .

    "Why is Mitt Romney considered a safe choice for the GOP nomination?"

    Does it matter? Mr Romney will be the national nominee running against Mr Obama because all other players in the Fox Network 2012 Presidential Primaries are not electable.

    Do you really think the sane voters in USA will vote for a person who is pro-torture?

    Ema Nymton

  6. There is a distinct difference between intrusive government by force of the minority and intrusive government by the will of the majority who by virtue of our democratic republic enact laws. Anybody ready for philosophical discussion?

  7. "Mitt won in Massachusetts because he is a liberal republican."

    That's an important point. I think "liberal Republican" the most accurate description. But we rarely hear Republicans described as liberals.

    I think there's a reason for that.

    The left has done a good job of defining the terminology to their advantage. So we hear a lot about "conservative Democrats" but not nearly as much about "liberal Republicans."

    That sends a subtle but important message.

    The message is that on the one hand, Democrats have reached out beyond the moderate middle into right wing territory. (And they shouldn't move any further to the right!) On the other hand, Republicans, no matter how far they drift to the left, are moderates who haven't even come close to the liberal end of the spectrum.

    So if you object to a Republican who's gone to far to the left, it's only because you're an extremist on the right wing fringe who needs to be ignored.

    We need to use the term liberal Republican more often. Liberal Republicans are out there, and they need to be described as such.

  8. Emma - are you saying that voters (and you) would consider voting for Ron Paul, since he is 100% anti-waterboarding?

  9. It's been explained to you several times. Only Romney has the political organization in place to maintain a campaign. His fundraising ability is large, but not as big as Obama's. His executive experience and his charisma will play well will the 3% of voters who actually matter. (Hint: you don't matter, and neither do I).

    Romney's nomination isn't inevitable. That's just the mantra of the Romney haters who want to manufacture a false sense of satisfaction by blowing this election. You want to feel that "come from behind" thrill. Rah, rah, rah!

    No, his re-election is not guaranteed either, nor is the Republican majority. A court just struck down the Texas redistricting plan, so instead of gaining four seats, we are going to lose four.

    THAT is why winning the presidency is so damned.important, because leftist judges can cause enormous damage. Because of the ages of three Justices, the next president will get at least two nominations, one of which is the swing vote on the court. The next president will also get hundreds of federal district and appeals court choices as well as choose US attorneys and cabinet secretaries.

    Demographics and time are working against us. We will eventually lose Texas, and if we don't start winning in the Midwest, it is all over. Liberty will be dead. Romney will choose conservative judges, and buy us some time while the party gets its head together.

    The relevant question isn't whether Romney is reelectable in 2016, because if we lose in 2012, the picture won't look any brighter four years later. The economy will already be in recovery. But Romney certainly is electable.

    I still haven't heard any cogent explanation about how Romney is going to destroy America with a Republican House and Senate?

    Romney is NOT a liberal. He wisely realized he couldn't win in 2008 and gracefully bowed out and supported McCain. That is loyalty to the party.

    So who is the new conservative du jour? Are we behind Gingrich now, or do some of you delusional people think Ron Paul will win one for the Gipper?

    We all know who you're against. We also know which losers you are for. But you don't have a plan for victory, and so you've gifted the presidency, the Supreme Court, and the House to the Demon Rats.

    Thanks for playing, 'How freaking stubborn in our stupidity can we possibly be?" You've won an all expense paid trip to Greece.

  10. Please don't tell me, klik, that your desperate distaste for Mitt Romney has so poisoned your ability to think that you actually believe that a survey of voters in a place like Massachusetts could be legitimately used to gauge his chances in the rest of the country. That's about as intellectually feeble an analysis as I can imagine.

    Why do you only write about one single candidate?

  11. "Only Romney has the political organization in place to maintain a campaign."

    So if Romney doesn't win the nomination, the Republicans should just pack up and go home?

    As important as money and clout are, I'm not sure most primary voters are going cast their vote for the best "political organization."

    I suspect most Republicans want to support a candidate who is guided by a few convictions and principles, as opposed to a candidate who is in a perpetual process of re-invention and triangulation.

    In the general election, your "3%" is going to vote based on general impressions and personality. I'm not convinced Romney can reinvent himself to seem trustworthy or human.

  12. Uh, Chuck, Massachusetts is Romney's home state. As governor, Mitt Romney was unpopular at home. In 2008, he couldn't even win next door in New Hampshire.

    Al Gore couldn't win in Tennessee in 2000, and in 2012 Mitt would lose in Massachusetts. I'm not sure that bodes well.

    Romney has all the robotic charm of a John Kerry, all the technocratic wonkiness of a Michael Dukakis and the home field advantage of an Al Gore.

    But he has a lot of money and an awesome Republican pedigree! I'm not sure that's enough.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. @Chuck

    Answer this question, and I'll answer yours: If Romney suddenly dropped out of the race for some reason, who would you support?

    I'll be as specific in my answer as you are in yours.

    Until you answer my question, let me say this: I think that there are at least 3-4 Republicans who have a realistic chance of beating Obama if nominated. Mitt Romney is one of those candidates. But of those 3-4 candidates, I think Mitt Romney is the least likely to be successful in reversing Obama's destructive policies, and is least likely to win re-election in 2016.

  15. BTW: Please forgive me for that crack about you only writing about Mitt Romney. That was unfair and probably inaccurate. I'm sure you write about a whole lot of other stuff.


  16. I'm a Santorum guy, klik. Always have been. I'd support Bachmann more except that she has this compulsive need to crap all over her fellow republicans. I like Herman Cain, but he's been phoning it in. He's too confident. Gingrich is a solid guy, but he's hated by too many people to go anywhere. When you're hated by people who only know how your name makes them feel, your attributes infuriate them (Sarah Palin ring a bell?).

    That said, there isn't one I wouldn't support. Hell, I'll campaign door to door for that vainglorious goofball Ron Paul if he's our nominee. I'll do it with glee.

    Thing is, the more I learn about Mitt Romney the man, the more I like him.

    I don't decide who the nominee is going to be. Romney hasn't been tearing down his fellow republicans. Neither has Gingrich. Neither has Cain.

    I showed you mine. Care to show me yours, honey? (hehe)

  17. Doh! I left out Perry. Probably due to shame. I predicted that if Perry entered the race, he would walk away with it. He might still get the nod, but I was way wrong nevertheless.

  18. "Answer this question, and I'll answer yours: If Romney suddenly dropped out of the race for some reason, who would you support?"

    I suppose I could've saved some time and simply answered: Republican Party.

    They are the only opposition to the democrats.

    Horrible old evil-retarded genius Chimpy McHitler-Bush had a 170 billion dollar deficit when he left office. Are you able to see what a wisp of nothing that is compared to what these evil vermin who populate the democrat party have PURPOSELY DONE to us?!?!?

    Ten fold. Ten fold increase. Why? To make up for money that should've been thrown down a toilet but hadn't been by Boosh? Get real. They seek your subjugation! They're more maniacal than the Maoists were. They want blood. They're going to get it if they aren't stopped.

    It's game face time. We can do make-believe next time maybe.

  19. I summed up my thoughts on the field here:

    Not much to add beyond that.

    Whoever wins, I'm voting against Obama in 2012. My state will be solid red (Obama -15 to -20), so a protest vote isn't out of the question for me.

    Among the non-Romney candidates, I'd break it up into 3 tiers in terms of potential ability to beat Obama as I see it at the moment:

    1: Gingrich
    2: Huntsman/Perry
    3: Bachmann/Cain/Paul/Santorum

    Those aren't my personal preferences.

    Any competent Republican nominee should be able to pull off something like this:

    At this point, I'm not enthusiastic about any of the candidates but Romney is probably the only candidate who might drive me to a third party vote.

  20. Summed up, huh? Whatever floats your boat, klik.

    English is something I find really neat if two people are willing to share it with one another. If not, no big whoop. I can always light a fire and listen to it.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Best quotes so far in this thread:

    "Thanks for playing, 'How freaking stubborn in our stupidity can we possibly be?'"


    "I swear I wonder if someone who looked just like him boned you in the shower when you were a little boy."

    Your blog seems to bring out the best in people, Tim.

  23. Chuck is practicing baiting techniques. Doing a damn fine job of it too. Everytime I read Chuck I sit by the fire.

  24. In my view if the nominee of the Republican Party doesn't represent a fundamentally different approach to governance than what we are used to it doesn't matter a bit in the long term.

    If you are going the wrong way, speed is not the determining factor on whether you arrive at the desired destination.

    I'm glad I'm not a Republican so I don't have to get involved in the pissing contests over which "government has the answers" candidate they will choose. (I admit I get bored sometimes and join the fray, but it's just for entertainment, and I also urge everyone to vote even though it won't matter for most of them)

    The thought of voting for a McCain, GHWB, GWB, Dole, Romney or some other clone makes me shudder nowadays.

    I will admit that I get a free pass to not have to make those crappy choices because I live in Illinois and I don't get a vote that matters. It's a curse and a relief at the same time.

    Anyone who lives in a deep blue state has the same advantage/disenfranchisement as I do and can vote their conscience too.

    Good luck having free grandchildren if a Romney/Obama type candidate wins.

  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Commenting here is a privilege, not a right. Comments that contain cursing or insults and those failing to add to the discussion will be summarily deleted.