One unintended consequence of this competitive GOP presidential primary is a tarnishing of the Republican “brand.” Not that the brand image was all that shiny before the primaries, however, the last three months of candidate in-fighting has done what may be irreparable damage with certain key voter groups.
Most important among these groups are moderate/independent women who could be the deciding factor between victory and defeat in crucial swing states.
An ABC/Washington Post poll released today revealed that women back in September of 2010 favored the GOP by 11 points as the party that “best represented their personal values.” Today, that number has shifted 5 points in favor of the Democratic Party accord to this poll.
Now, I do not believe Mitt Romney was responsible for this shift and I will refrain from naming the presidential primary candidate whose statements have caused moderate/independent women to flee the Republican Party. However, attracting women swing voters back to September 2010 levels for the general election becomes Romney’s burden once the primary circus is over.
Fortunately, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, is best positioned to help bring moderate women back into the party and most likely will be utilized as Romney’s “Ambassador to Women.” Mrs. Romney is a polished speaker, comes across as genuine, is extremely likable and connects well with audiences. I am confident she would be a model First Lady.
Believe it or not, women actually care about who is First Lady of the United States, probably more than they care to admit and vote accordingly. (I personally know numerous women who did not cast their vote for John Kerry in 2004 because they did not want Mrs. Heinz-Kerry to be First Lady.)
But can Mr. and Mrs. Romney help undo the damage caused by a former Senator from Pennsylvania and make the Republican Party more women-friendly again?
The answer is “yes,” but only if there is enough time to turn it around.
A re-branding of the entire Republican Party image is badly needed for the general election but especially with moderate women.
For if this race drags on and women swing-voters who have now found a safe haven in the arms of President Obama and the Democrats, decide to stay there come November, the Republican Party runs the risk of losing not only the White House but the Senate and possibly the House as well.
Another reason why it is time for Republicans to band together and stop fighting each other before more damage is done with women and other key voter groups.