The Three Moments That Wrecked The Romney Campaign, And Their Common Thread: Conservatism

Bill Scher

Mitt Romney arguably lost Ohio on November 18, 2008, when he penned an oped titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Today, 64% of Ohio voters call President Obama’s restructuring of the auto industry “mostly good.”

Mitt Romney arguably lost Florida, with its heavy concentration of older voters, when he picked as his vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, the face of the conservative plan to end Medicare as we know it.

The CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll now has Obama leading Romney by 9 points in Florida, up from a 3 point lead in late August.

In August, Romney was ahead among Florida voters 65 and older by 13 points. Now, Obama is ahead among voters 55 and older (don’t ask me why Quinnipiac didn’t publish the same age breakdowns) by 8 points. This tracks with what the national Reuters poll found. Romney used to have a 20 point lead with voters 60 and over, now it’s less than four.

And Romney arguably lost every possible remaining undecided voter when the “47%” video was uncovered on Sept. 18. What polling we have seen since then suggests Romney, already losing, is now cratering. Quinnipiac also found record double digit leads for Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Gallup tracking poll, long more favorable to Romney than most, has moved five points in Obama’s direction since the video. And the ABC/Washington Post poll found 61% of voters disapprove of how Romney has handled his campaign, with 54% disagreeing with his “47%” comments.

The common thread in all of these moments is they were raw expressions of modern conservatism. Government should not aggressively save an industry in dire trouble. Government should not guarantee health care for retirees. Government should not help those working to help themselves but still struggle.

The albatross around Romney’s neck is not so much his wealth or his social skills. It is modern conservatism that has sunk his campaign, and would have sunk any other this year.

The public remembers that conservatism is what wrecked in the economy 2008. And until conservatives make amends for that, they have little hope of earning a majority.

Maybe not even 47%.

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