Although it seems likely that Mitt Romney will nab the nomination in the end, he’s having trouble getting there. He needs 1144 delegates, and if Rick Santorum keeps picking up conservative states, then the Republican Party will have to hold a brokered convention, the likes of which we haven’t seen in over half a century. So far, Mitt is halfway there with 566 delegates, more than Santorum (273), Newt Gingrich (135), and Ron Paul (50) combined. Romney has performed well in moderate states in New England, the Midwest, and the West. Both Democrats and Republicans see him as a moderate; many, in fact, believe he holds no true values, and will do whatever it takes to get into office and stay there. This has come to hurt him in conservative states, where voters think he might be a RINO, especially given his elite background, having attended Harvard and co-founded Bain Capital.
Santorum, on the other hand, appeals to the evangelical base with his strict social conservative positions on abortion and gay marriage. To most democrats he comes off as completely insane, taking hard stances against contraception and pornography. Although we might actually be comfortable with Romney sitting in the Oval Office, Democrats would much rather the nomination go to Gingrich or Santorum because they are completely unelectable due to their ridiculous hard-right positions and ridiculous claims.
Romney has hit many bumps along the campaign road; making $10,000 bets and talking about friends who own NASCAR teams hasn’t helped his image. After Santorum won Mississippi and Alabama, it seemed Romney would be caught in some trouble losing the evangelical base even after the primaries. Romney’s victory in Illinois brought him back some momentum, but the comments of him being an “Etch A Sketch” and Santorum’s win in Louisiana have again brought gloom to his campaign. A win for Santorum in Wisconsin on April 3 could really put a dent in Romney’s run. Recent Gallup polls show that Romney still has a slight edge in national favorability, holding 34 percent approval amongst Republican and right-leaning independents. Santorum is not far behind at 30 percent, and the other two candidates seem to be trailing at around 10 to 15 percent.
The inability of any one GOP nominee to ignite the base comes off as a great relief to the Democratic Party in light of the good news that President Barack Obama’s approval ratings had briefly risen to 50 percent for the first time since May. Much of this may be attributed to improvement in employment rates. Gallup Polls also show an increase in Obama’s popularity amongst women, likely due to the recent attack on contraception users by the right wing. It is strange for the GOP to be blaming the left for rallying women into a fake war on themselves when the argument was really generated by the right. Rush Limbaugh’s attacks and Rick Santorum’s persistent 12th century views do the work for us; Democrats don’t even need to say a thing. If things continue at this rate, it seems clear that Obama has the odds slightly in his favor come November.