On his nationally syndicated radio show on Wednesday, Republican talk show host Michael Medved gloated over the fact that Mitt Romney won a wave of primaries with no effort, hands down, with no competition.
But has Romney convinced his base? Are voters enthusiastic for him?
The facts don't convince. When you look at the delegate count and the number of primaries he's won, it almost does seem that Romney is GOP voters' favorite. But looking closer at the margins of his wins tells a different story. So, establishment flacks like Medved are indulging bombast instead of serious commentary.
Granted Medved allows his desire to be right in his advocacy overwhelm his common sense, and he has always been a sellout to the GOP establishment, but while he might be right that Romney has only been a nominal favorite, not one has run away with the field.
Last week for instance, Delaware and Pennsylvania were indicative of this lack of enthusiasm Romney is suffering because in neither primary did Romney win 60% of the vote.
This is significant because, as Eric Ostermeier notes, no presumptive nominee has ever gotten under 60% in these two primaries this late in the game.
"A Smart Politics review of Republican primary election data since 1972 finds that Mitt Romney's performances in Delaware and Pennsylvania mark the first time a GOP front-runner has failed to reach the 60%mark in a contest conducted after his last major challenger dropped out of the race."
Couple this with the startling inroads that first Newt Gingrich and then, more successfully, Rick Santorum made into Romney's primary campaigns and you see a probable nominee that, while he won more than the others on strict wins and loses, he only did so by spare margins in many cases.
What this shows is that the GOP base has still not warmed to Romney as their nominee. He's become the default candidate, the "one that can win," as opposed to the one everyone is excited about.
This won't necessarily doom Romney's candidacy, of course. What he needs to do from this point is truly drive home how disastrous Obama has been for this country. If this election becomes a vote on how wonderful Romney is, he'll easily lose. It has to be about Obama.
To win, Romney absolutely must make this election a referendum on Obama's failures. Clearly Romney's own voters are not excited about him — at this point it doesn’t seem that they ever will be — but what they find increasingly foreboding is the idea of allowing Obama a second term.
So, what we must understand is that most Republicans and conservatives will not be enthusiastic to vote for Mitt Romney. They will, though, be enthusiastic to vote against Barack Obama. Romney has to run his campaign on the basis.