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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fighting the "name recognition factor"

This recent story out of Massachusetts has an interesting take on Romney's recent leadership through the flooding crisis in Massachusetts. A disaster like this is horrible and devastating to affected individuals. Situations like this require focused effective leadership and Gov Romney seems to be providing that well. Also, one cannot dispute the fact that situations like these represent opportunities for Gov. Romney to prove his leadership capabilities beyond the borders of his state and thereby improve his still poor national "name recognition factor."

This story got me thinking again about the "name recognition factor" and how it plays a roll in the pre-election world.

Romney supporters (or potential Romney supporters) should not be discouraged by all of the "early polls" (like this compilation of polls over the last year or so) about the 2008 presidential race. At this point . . . people called by a polling service about a potential race over 2 years away are not likely to take it seriously and would probably say anything to get off the phone quicker. More importantly, at this point these phone polls are all about name recognition. That's why McCain, Giuliani, and Rice seem to do the best . . . because they are well known names that have been highlighted on the national stage. However, political pundints see it a little differently as the following links (here, here, here, and here) all show that Romney is in the top teir of possible republican nominees.

What about McCain? Is he unbeatable? I mean he's tops in the polls and tops among pundits!

Well, a few of points on McCain:

1) Bear in mind that the mainstream media (MSM) LOVES and has always loved McCain. He's championed campaign finance reform which gives disproportionate power to the MSM. Plus, he's a "Maverick" and the media love a guy who will speak out about and against the "status quo". So, McCain sort of gets "a pass" by the MSM. However, when election time comes up all of his controversial past WILL be brought up and will make the GOP base have some second thoughts about Senator McCain

2) Longtime GOPers and the Christian right don't much like McCain as he's been so willing to team up with the left on several issues. GOP bloggers also have a pretty negative opinion of him as far as polls go.

3) As stated above, McCain is a "Maverick" which is an OK stance to take as a moderate republican senator . . . but is not much of what most people think of in a President. In a word, McCain doesn't strike many people as "presidential."

4) He's not terribly young . . . Most people remember him as he was during the 2000 presidential race, but he'll be 72 years old in 2008. Assuming the GOP wants to get another potential two-term president in office, that would make him 80 years old as a president. This will play a bigger factor than people are now realizing.

5) He's pretty testy and reactionary which won't go over well in debates or when he's finally grilled by the MSM during a hotly contested GOP primary.

6) He's a senator. Time and time again, the public seems to wildly prefer Governors to Senators when it comes to electing a president.

7) Part of McCain's support now is based on the polling that shows him handily beating Hillary in a general election. This excites the GOP base and engenders support from people who want to win. However, Mr. Romney is no slouch against Clinton either . . . one online poll at CNBC showed Mr. Romney smoking Clinton in a head to head race (74% to 26%). Once this kind of polling is confirmed, those "wanting to win" could easily switch camps.

Well, I don't mean this to be an attack on McCain . . . I just wanted to point out to Romney supporters that there is not only "hope" but a strong chance that McCain can and will be beat.

So don't be scared to support Mitt Romney because you don't think he has a chance. He is the horse that will pull away from the rest near the finish line!


Anonymous said...

Remember Liberman was way out front in 2002 for the Dems in 2004.

Jeff Fuller said...

Very good point! He seems like the converse of McCain . . . a moderate Democrat with cross party appeal. Didn't serve him too well in the primaries, eh?

Anonymous said...

Well the Iraq war did him in. I think that could be McCain downfall as we drawl down troop levels and the race is more on issue like Health and Eduction.

BPetersen said...

Great analysis Jeff. I've been mulling over these ideas for some time now but you articulated them very well. I think McCains story will end up like that of Barboro, since today was the Preakness. He's the frontrunner but he'll soon not be able to explain some of his past. That is why I think Senators have a much harder time at securing the presidency. They have to explain every vote they made and in the complex world of congressional politics that's like hugging the tar baby.

I really like Romney but I've been trying to keep an open mind. The more I do that, the more I like Romney.

Also Jeff, thank you for your blog. It is the most up-to-date and thorough blog on Romney. I check it every day!

provoce said...


Great points, with one caveat - I wouldn't put much stock in an online CNBC poll - most of the people that frequent that site are fiscal conservatives like Romney. Keep up the great work.

Jeff Fuller said...

Agree about the source of the poll. However, I still think he would beat her hands down . . . just need to wait for different/better polling to confirm this.