There are two patterns in the polling of our primary candidates: Romney consistently holds 20% – 25% of the national polling, while the other candidates play musical chairs for the spotlight. First, Bachmann’s campaign went from an anemic 5% early this summer to 15% in August. Then her campaign cratered and Perry came on the scene with 30% of the polling, and was soon replaced himself by the Cain campaign, now at about 25%.
While Romney’s flipflops, beginning with RomneyCare, become more and more transparent to the electorate at large, conservatives paying attention to the primary process are looking to find someone to support instead of Romney. The problem for Romney is that voters seem to have made up their mind about him, and he doesn’t have 50%. Eventually, as some of the other candidates begin to drop out, their supporters will have to choose someone else. Is a Cain, Bachmann, or Perry supporter really going to vote for Romney? The fact is, Cain, Bachmann, and Perry supporters have a lot more in common than they do with Romney supporters, and the combined polling of Cain, Bachmann, and Perry tops well over 50%. We may have a scenario where Romney does well in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, but then fairs steadily worse as other candidates drop out and their supporters switch to backing someone other than Romney.
Looking at the big picture, this primary is about Republicans cleaning house. Romney is the vanguard fighting against the rise of fiscal conservatives who see politicians like Romney as part of the same over-regulating, big government spending crowd which lost Republicans control of the Presidency and Congress in 2008. In short, Romney is in the same league as President George Bush. For example, it’s hard to see how any small government, fiscal conservative could support universal healthcare, aka RomneyCare. Even if Romney is right that healthcare should be a states rights issue, no small government, fiscal conservative in their right minds would support their state creating a universal healthcare system. It’s a bad idea, because an overly-controlling big spending state government is no better than an overly-controlling big spending federal government. In a nutshell, this is the problem conservatives have with Romney, and it’s why at the end of the primary process, someone besides Romney will be the Republican Nominee.