Evidence appears to be mounting that the Republican primary is harming the party’s chances in November. Pew/Washington Post reports the “GOP race is rallying Democrats” and a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll claims “Primary season takes ‘corrosive’ toll on GOP and its candidates.”
The long-term impact of this observed damage remains to be seen, but in the short-term, party leaders are beginning to maneuver an end to the race.
Karl Rove of Super PAC fame is the lead signal caller for unity behind Romney and wrapping things up. He has a lot of behind-the-scenes support from current and former Republican officeholders who are not certain Romney can win, but the alternatives look like disasters hurting House, Senate and State level races.
The nominating process is hurting both the image of the party and of the candidates.
• 49% of Democrats say Republican nomination battle is making Obama look better, Pew/Washington Post
• 26% of Republicans say nomination battle has improved their impression of GOP field, Pew/Washington Post
• 40% of adults say GOP nomination process gives them less favorable impression of Republicans, NBC/Wall Street Journal
• Romney’s unfavorable rating going up and favorable rating going down
January 2012 – 31% favorable/36% unfavorable
February 2012 – 28% favorable/39% unfavorable
Expect to see more endorsements from officeholders for Romney timed near primaries and caucuses. Also, efforts to limit attacks on Romney are likely to increase.
Historically, the Republican Party power structure had many ways to hurry the conclusion of a race. But 2012 has, due to the new rules and the weakness of Romney, been a much more free flow and cantankerous affair.
Pew: GOP race is rallying Democrats
NBC/Wall Street Journal: Primary season takes ‘corrosive’ toll on GOP and its candidates