Mitt Romney won the vote in New Hampshire among those who are enthusiastic or satisfied with the Bush Presidency — unfortunately a majority of Republican primary voters are angry or unsatisfied with the Bush Presidency and among these voters John McCain crushed Romney. The candidates who have attacked Bush policies and the conduct of the government are doing well — McCain and Huckabee — the candidates who are defending Bush policies and the Bush Presidency are also rans. Perhaps a theme is developing here.
More poll results:
* Mitt Romney won among voters who approve of the Iraq war, John McCain won among those who don’t approve of the Iraq war.
* More than half of all voters wanted the next President to pursue policies more conservative than those of President Bush — and Mitt Romney defeated John McCain among those voters.
* John McCain crushed Romney among voters who wanted the next President to pursue policies to the left of President Bush.
* More than half of voters in the Republican primary favored some sort of amnesty for illegal aliens — and these voters voted overwhelmingly for John McCain.
* Mitt Romney won among those who oppose amnesty.
If you go by the NBC News poll, here’s a quick profile of the typical Romney voter — a conservative Republican who is optimistic about the American economy, opposes amnesty, supports traditional marriage, and approves of the war in Iraq.
And according to the poll, the profile of the typical McCain voter looks something like this — a liberal or moderate Republican or independent who is pessimistic about the American economy, disapproves of the Iraq war, supports civil unions for gays, and supports an amnesty for illegal aliens.
UPDATE: CNN’s reporting of the polling numbers tracks my own reporting of the NBC results on McCain and his big anti-Bush, anti-Iraq vote. See now also CNN’s Bill Schneider on “The Bush Effect”. A snippet: “Roughly half of Republican primary voters had a negative opinion of the Bush administration, and those voters significantly went for Arizona Sen. John McCain by nearly a 2-to-1 margin .. So while Romney tried heavily to be the candidate of change in the closing days of the New Hampshire campaign, voters overwhelmingly believed that McCain better represents the change candidate.”
Let me suggest that if Mitt Romney really wants to win this nomination he’d be advised to tell the American people that the next President of the country will have to step up and do a better job that the current President — and explain to us why and how he’ll do a better job of it that Mr. Bush. Do that and he’ll get the nomination. Don’t do it and I’m not so sure.
UPDATE II: The mainstream conservative press is starting to pick up on some of the polling data I highlight here. But their is one thing I neglected to mention — the extent to which anti-Mormon religious bigotry continues to be a major factor in the Republican campaign:
Finally, there’s this troubling data. McCain won among voters who care “a great deal,” “somewhat,” and “not much” whether a candidate shares their religious beliefs. The only category Romney won is those people (33%) who said that care “not at all,” where he beat McCain 38-33. This accords with Iowa, where Romney got beaten among those who cared “a great deal” and “somewhat,” and had his best margin over Huckabeeâ€”39-2â€”among those who cared “not at all.”