So far, the base of the Republican party has sent Mitt Romney a message: They’re not yet convinced that he’s their guy.
Tuesday, on the verge of his victories in Arizona and Michigan, Romney, in extraordinarily blunt terms, told the base how he felt about them:
It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative, attacking of President Obama, that you’re going to jump up in the polls. I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am.
I must admit, I was stunned by this. In one statement he was able to label the Republican base as easily excitable, enamored of “incendiary comments,” and thirsty for “outrageous things” to be said about President Obama. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
If Romney continues this line of logic, I might invite him to guest write my column one week.
It’s not clear what Romney meant by “the base,” but one way to define it is by its most conservative components — people who describe themselves as very conservative, strongly supportive of the Tea Party and white evangelicals.
A review of available exit polls from the contests so far finds that Romney has lost these groups in a majority of cases (exit polls were not available for Maine, Missouri, Colorado or Minnesota):
Romney’s comments are not likely to go over well with these groups of voters and that could prove problematic heading into Super Tuesday. Of the 10 Republican contests on March 6 this year, six had exit polls taken in 2008. Of those, only one, Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor, has a white evangelical voting block that’s less than 40 percent of all Republican primary voters.
If those voters continue to be ambivalent toward Romney, he might be forced to revisit the idea of igniting his immaculate mane.