The pundits should get another job. A survey of Democratic and Republican "insiders" concluded that Romney has a better chance than Perry to win the general election. Forgetting the fact that Perry would govern as a conservative, whereas Romney is at best an unknown (given his mixed record,) the conclusion is ridiculous. I gave several reasons why it is wrong in my last post, but let me add to them.
This election as most Presidential elections will be a referendum on the incumbent. That's good news no matter who runs. It doesn't mean a good candidate won't do better than a poor one, but the overwhelming tide will be driven by the view people have of Obama.
The premise most of the Romney people start with is that the Tea Party "extremists" that ran in Nevada, Colorado and Delaware lost because of their "extreme" conservative views. Nonsense! They were poor candidates, poor spokesmen, and some had past baggage to contend with. Does anyone seriously think Christine O'Donnell or Sharon Angle would have won if they were "moderate?" If this were true, how did so many other Tea Party candidates win?
A voters passion about an issue drives their votes, not casual likes and dislikes. For decades the Left couldn't figure out why they always lost ground on the abortion issue. Until recently the pro choice voters outnumbered the pro life by as high as 70% to 30% (today that number is about even.) Passion is the difference. Only 1% of choice voters would completely rule out a candidate who supported life, whereas 10% of life voters would never vote for a choice candidate. That means the right lost 7/10 of 1% of all voters (1% times 70%,) and the Left lost 3% of all voters (10% times 30%.) Judge Jeanine Pirro once asked me how I liked her campaign (during that short period when she opposed Hillary for the New York Senate seat.) She had been running an ad saying Hillary would not complete her term because she would run for President. I said to Pirro she was wasting her money. She answered that they had polled it and 80% of voters wanted Hillary to finish if she won. I suppose that was correct, but NONE of that 80% would change their vote on the issue, and winning or changing votes is what wins elections.
This is a long winded way of saying that moderation (Romney) might show better numerical support on certain trivial issues, but on the things that people really care about and vote on Perry wins hands down. A winning candidate supports issues that people care passionately about, and Perry has done that for 25 years. Romney is maybe, maybe just now finding his way.
I question the argument that Romney's business success will resonate with voters more than Perry's record. Romney and his record at Bain Capital is impressive, as is the job he did running the Winter Olympics. But when compared with Perry's record on jobs, taxes, tort reform, and his fantastic campaign skills (see Kay Bailey for details,) Romney runs a distant second. Worse for Romney is Romney care. Do you think anyone cares about his ridiculous defense of it (claiming it is different from Obama care in that the state has a right to impose it and the federal government doesn't?) Will Perry get more votes trashing it, or Romney by defending his plan (which is contrary to all free enterprise principles) while saying he would repeal Obama care?
Perry is better on the issues that count, on articulating them, and has a record to prove it. Anyone who thinks Romney's chances are better than Perry's better brush up on political history and political science.