Commentary Magazine


Is Romney Losing His 2008 Supporters?

Some of Mitt Romney’s most influential supporters during his 2008 presidential campaign told Politico that they haven’t yet decided whether they’ll back his 2012 run, the paper reported today. According to the article, this is a “big warning sign” that Romney’s candidacy is in trouble:

As much as anything else, it calls into question just how far ahead of the pack he is as the 2012 contenders emerge. Even as Romney tries to project inevitability by signing up top GOP money men in Washington and New York, the defections suggest he’s seen as far from a sure thing even among insiders. After all, if top Republicans were willing to commit to Romney four years ago when he was a lesser known commodity, why won’t they get on board now when he’s a household name in the political circles and clearly among the most formidable candidates for his party’s nomination?

Politico is right that Romney will face some new challenges in building a support base for 2012. While he may have been seen as the front-runner for the nomination shortly after the 2008 election, the rise of the Tea Party and the public’s rejection of health-care reform make him a riskier bet today.

But it also seems a bit early to read so much into this situation. Romney hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy — and neither have most of the other potential GOP candidates — so it’s understandable that his former supporters aren’t eagerly revealing their endorsements to Politico reporters at the moment.

So, no, this doesn’t look like a reason to predict problems for Romney yet. But it’s definitely a good forecast for the obstacles his campaign will run into down the road.