Mitt Romney is charismatic, an excellent fundraiser, and a man who can genuinely claim to be an outsider in a year when the American people are sick to death of politics as usual in Washington.
Additionally, Mitt has an excellent political strategy for 2008, one that catapulted John Kerry to victory in 2004: win Iowa, win New Hampshire and then rely on the momentum of those two early victories to act as a slingshot to victory.
Could it work? Could Mitt Romney carry the Republican banner in the 2008 presidential race? Yes! Would that be good news for the Republican Party? Not so much. Let talk about why that's the case.
Like most Americans, I would happily walk into the voting booth and cast a vote for a Mormon to be President of the United States. Unfortunately, a significant block of Americans who consider Mormons to be part of a heretical Christian cult, rightly or wrongly, won't vote a Mormon into the White House.
For example, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll back in June of 2006 found that 37 percent of Americans said "that they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate." Similarly, in a February of 2007, USA Today poll, 24% of American adults flat out said that they would not vote for a Mormon who ran for the presidency.
Those numbers, which are none too cheery for Mitt backers become even more grim when you consider the very real possibility that many of the people who say that they won't vote for a Mormon may be Christians who typically vote Republican, but won't cast their vote for someone whom they consider to be part of a cult. This survey of Christians at ChristiaNet.com would seem to support that theory. 59% of the 2000 Christians surveyed "claimed they would not vote to elect a Mormon for president."
So far, Mitt has tried to deal with this issue by casting himself as a candidate friendly to religious voters and to my ears, he has done a pretty good job of it.