Matt Towery

He's heard this from his close friends and supporters, so the statement that he appears too slick and well-polished should come as no surprise to Romney. But trying to turn Mitt Romney into a "country Joe" would be disingenuous. He should run as a John F. Kennedy-type candidate -- but no monograms on shirts, no cufflinks and no handkerchiefs.

As for Romney's health care flop in Massachusetts, it seems unlikely that GOP voters will hold that against him. Romney's program did differ from "ObamaCare," and while it backfired, it will be the former governor's views on the economy and foreign policy that Republican voters will be examining.

Sarah Palin also appears to be a candidate who has strong support, at 11 percent in our survey. But as for now, she too seems to lack the fire within to run for president. That may change.

The final candidate in the race to have genuine support at this stage is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with 8 percent in our poll. If Gingrich could stick to the message of reminding people what he accomplished as speaker, he could race to the top of the pack. Nearly half of the survey's respondents don't even know he was speaker -- they were too young to focus on him in the 1990s.

It is Newt's job to introduce "Speaker Gingrich" to those voters. As for Gingrich's so-called "baggage," we polled separately that issue, giving much detail to the question. A large majority of respondents said they were not interested in Gingrich's past marriages or mistakes.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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