Romney, conservatives and conservatives

posted at 11:00 am on February 9, 2012 by Karl

Jay Cost did a little mythbusting Monday regarding conservative support for Mitt Romney:

The conventional wisdom is that conservatives are dissatisfied with Romney, whose electoral coalition is comprised mostly of moderates and even liberal voters. That might be true of conservative media elites, but the broader electorate of conservatives have been much more amenable to Romney.


No doubt, Romney is dominating among moderates and liberals, but his haul is just as strong among “somewhat conservative” voters. It is only among the “very conservative” that Gingrich has a lead – although even this is much less than what one might have thought based on the way the media has been covering the story.

RTWT, as Jay has plenty of insights about how Romney’s voter base has changed from 2008 and the potential strength of his coalition. It’s also a detailed example of one of Jay’s enduring truths of elections: strong partisans do not dominate the political process. I would almost be tempted to end the summary here, as people who are sufficiently absorbed with politics to be reading (not to mention writing) are likely those most in need of a reminder that we are not all that representative a sample, even of Repbulicans or conservatives. That message might be even more important the day after Rick Santorum sweeps Romney in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado (an impressive feat, but one involving low turnout caucuses where Romney did not camapign much).

However, as useful as Jay’s analysis is as a tonic, I doubt he would claim it tells the entire story of the GOP primary campaign. Notably, Jay wrote earlier this month about the growing regional divide among conservatives:

Those in the North and Midwest are more sympathetic to Romney, viewing him perhaps as one of their own. But when we turn Southward, the links between Romney and the right seems to be much more tenuous. What is so fascinating about this is that we’re talking about people in different states who answer the ideological question similarly. This is geography, not ideology.

I’m not sure that last bit (emphasis in original) is entirely true, depending on what Jay means by it. It seems entirely possible to me that Northerners who self-identify as conservative do not always mean the same thing as Southerners do when self-identifying as conservative. And the same is possibly true of other regions. Indeed, based on last night’s results in Minnesota and Missouri, it’s not clear that the Midwest is as sympathetic to Romney as Jay may think. Minnesota ends up looking more like Iowa than Iowa, let alone New Hampshire, Florida or Nevada (where, as Jay notes, Mitt won 57% of the somewhat conservative voters and 48% of the very conservative voters).

The easy explanation of some of these regional differences would be religion, but in examining that issue, Sean Trende adds the following caveat: “religion could be a stand-in for ideology, and that, regardless of self-identification, a self-described conservative evangelical Republican is significantly to the right of a self-described conservative who is non-evangelical.”

In sum, while I basically agree with Jay that political junkies tend to overstate the case that Romney does not appeal to conservatives, I also think we should be careful when we throw around the conservative label. To take a more obvious example, many look at polls showing twice as many identify as conservative than identify as liberal without considering that: (a) some still self-identify as conservative Democrats and are likely more liberal than moderate or liberal Republicans; and (b) many self-identifying moderates are functionally liberal, but have fled the label. Relying on self-identification may be a necessary evil in political polling. However, in a nation as diverse and sprawling as the US, we need to always keep in mind the limitations of self-identification and the necessity of any candidate appealing to more than one type of conservative.

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Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 6:57 PM

I don’t think his goal is to impress me.

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2012 at 7:06 PM

I don’t think his goal is to impress me.
Cindy Munford on February 9, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Does it matter if that’s his goal? I asked you if you’re impressed by his comments. Yes or no?

John Hitchock

Pssssst, speaking of Alinsky. I can’t wait for you to read this and come back prattling about what a dangerous RINO I am.

Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

And Gunlock Bill is busily using the false dichotomy fallacy in his attacks against people who are anti-Romney. As is the case with nearly all Mittbots.

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

The Mormon thing doesn’t interest me.

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Buy Danish, you intentionally lied about what I wrote in my article (which is linked on page 3 of the comments and twice in the trackbacks so everyone can see your lies). Why should I ever bother to read something you wrote or linked to until you confess your lies and repent of your lies? My site is called Truth Before Dishonor for a reason. And you dishonor yourself regularly here on HotGas.

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Opposing gay marriage and abortion are conservative stances (which I agree with), but using the federal government to enact changes to the Constitution and overrule States’ Rights is NOT conservative, at all. The fact of the matter is that the social conservative movement inside the Republican Party is often just another big-government movement.

Aizen on February 9, 2012 at 11:18 AM

It’s not social conservatives who are demanding the government change its definition of marriage. By definition, then, social conservatives are the opposite of big-government types on the subject of gay marriage.

Abortion, on the other hand, is a question of human life. Explain to me how being on the side of life is big-government. Or how resisting the judicial activism that led to declaring all restrictions on abortion to be unconstitutional, even though the actual Constitution says nothing about abortion, is not conservative.

Judging by the issues you yourself picked out, social conservatives are more conservative than you appear to be.

tom on February 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM

So it was the Mormonism. I suspect that is why Santorum destroyed Romney in Missouri. That state contains some of the most conservative fundamentalist Christian churches I’ve ever heard about, especially in the rural areas.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the southern states.

Dack Thrombosis on February 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Conservative fundamentalist Christian churches are usually not too fond of Catholicism either. If they voted for Santorum, it was probably because he was an actual conservative.

tom on February 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

The fact Mittens and his minions have to keep convincing people he’s a conservative is all the proof you need to know he not a conservative.

angryed on February 9, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Mitt’s has to tie a Picture of Reagan around his neck just to get the conservatives to play with him.

portlandon on February 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

If he had a picture of Reagan around his neck, he would still be constantly reminding everyone that Reagan was “not as conservative as people think.”

tom on February 9, 2012 at 7:52 PM

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Ooh lah lah. I quoted you verbatim! I could not care less about your links or trackbacks. What the hell does that have to do with, well, anything? And why am I being asked to “repent” again?

You made the patently false (and easily verifiable) claim that Romney has proposed using a VAT on top of existing taxes. He has discussed the possibility of using a VAT for CORPORATIONS to REPLACE existing CORPORATE taxes.

Sorry to shout, but I’ve observed that loons like you tend to have an overabundance of wax in their ears. My admittedly unproven theory is it’s somehow related to wearing tinfoil hats.

PS: I shan’t be back tonight. I can’t say I look forward to your response, but I am easily amused so if your goal is to provide me with entertainment, comment away.

Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Ooh lah lah. I quoted you verbatim!
Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Since your statement on page 3 which referred to my article as relating to Mormonism was neither a quote from my site nor a verbatim anything, you continue apace with your lies. Tell me again, why should I ever value anything you write or link? And base your argument on my own value structure as represented in my blog name (Truth Before Dishonor) and my byline (I’d rather be right than popular). I give those very specific requirements because you have a very clear history of abject dishonesty here, and a very clear track record of lying about me personally.

To be honest, I am mildly offended that Cindy Munford would consider you and me to be evenly matched, seeing as you have to base all your attacks against me on lies you create, while I value Truth Before Dishonor and before all else.

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I would almost be tempted to end the summary here, as people who are sufficiently absorbed with politics to be reading (not to mention writing) are likely those most in need of a reminder that we are not all that representative a sample, even of Repbulicans or conservatives

This can’t be repeated often enough. Not that it will ever sink in to those most in need of reminding. Willful ignorance is the most stubborn form of that condition.

MJBrutus on February 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

As I wrote in my article, and Buy Danish is busily proving to be fact,

He (and more importantly his wrecking crew) has viciously and falsely attacked all his Republican adversaries in ways only Alinskyites would love, by use of intentional lies, intentional hiding of the truth, and other methods.

As Buy Danish busily lies about me and about the article that I quoted verbatim above (and, Buy Danish, that is a verbatim quote, not the lies you pushed), s/he continues to prove the truth of my declaration.

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Ha! This John Hitchcock character is seriously ignorant and demented. Sounds like he got a cactus stuck to his butt during his walk along the Texas border and the poor dear has been afflicted ever since.

I only briefly skimmed a few sentences and stopped there as I don’t wish to ingest poison. Apparently the fact that Mitt is a Mormon has something to do with Cap n Trade. And then there are blatantly false statements like this:

As Republican candidate for President over the past four to six years, Romney has also advocated a VAT tax on top of all the other taxes we are already paying.

I could be wrong, but I’m thinkin’ Johnny boy won’t be long for this blog and will be sent back to “lurker” status in short order.

Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM

I took a brief look at the article, and don’t see anything unhinged. He believes Mormonism is not a Christian faith and gives reasons, but does not believe Romney’s Mormonism should be a factor in voting for or against him, but ultimately rejects Romney because he’s not conservative.

All of which I agree with myself.

He also objects to attempts to smear all opposition to Romney as antiMormonism. Fortunately, not all Romney supporters do that, but there are a lot who do. I don’t have much patience for the “religious bigot” card myself.

I’m quite sure you disagree with me on all the above, but it’s hardly grounds for calling someone unhinged.

tom on February 9, 2012 at 8:34 PM

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I didn’t read your link or what BD said about it, she and I have our own on going disagreements, that’s enough for me.

Cindy Munford on February 9, 2012 at 8:39 PM

1. Caribou Barbie
2. Crazy-eyed Minnesota
3. Not-a-chance Thaddeus McCotter
4. The-Lil’Rick-that-Could
5. Tap-dat-Cain
————-The Great Line of WILL NOT VOTE FOR————-
6. Texas Rick
7. TPaw Fumblefingers
8. Salamander
————The Great Line of WILL PUNISH REPUBICS———–
9. Huntsman the Lesser
10. Rue Paul
11. The Donald
12. Willard Fillmoure Romneycare

SilverDeth on February 9, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Thank you for your thoughtful response. The only one I would agree with you on is… Michelle Bachman. I respect her more and more every time I see her.

Sarah Palin… really??? The one who left all of you hanging, not committing to a run all those months? Then kinda sorta endorsing Newt… but not really? NOT A LEADER! Michelle Bachman is Sarah Palin with class and a brain. Sorry. I wanted to love her…went to see her speak in Detroit when she came in 2008, but she is not a leader… is out for herself, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer. What a disappointment.

I know McCotter; I work in his district. Not very popular, and is facing a tough Republican challenge. Surprised you think of him as a true conservative; he definitely bought the UAW line with the auto bailouts (Just sayin’ Romney did not, which was definitely NOT popular with the UAW, but I know you non-Mitts don’t want to hear that).

Rick and Herman… they can blame anyone they want, but they both self imploded. I also like Jim DeMint, but he didn’t put himself in the arena, did he?

In the end… we have who we have. I’d say… shame on all these wonderful conservatives that we can’t vote for because they didn’t run. I support Mitt (cringe… I feel the bombs coming at me) because I believe he is conservative enough. He knows how to run a business… is ruthless enough to beat Obama… and I believe will cut the size of government. Has lived an exemplary family life… and is satisfactory on the social issues. I am very conservative… lean Libertarian. I’m ok with Mitt.

PKinMI on February 9, 2012 at 9:36 PM

You’re missing the point. Yeah, romney gets a good share of conservatives who hold their nose. However, turnout is less than in 2008. Meaning, a good many conservatives are sitting home. No one ever said romney won’t get _any_ conservatives: what I (and others) are saying is enough will refuse to vote for him under any circumstances to doom him in the general. Strawman attack all you like, you haven’t made the case romney will win ENOUGH conservatives to win, and that is the entire point. I continue to think Gingrich would do better in the general than Romney. Personally, as I’ve said before, I’d vote for Kim Il Jong before I’d vote for Romney. I’m resigned to sitting this election out. There is a time to stand up and say “principle matters” and to refuse to go along with the crap the GOP establishment has been pulling on us for decades. The only way to end it is to destroy their candidate. We need obama to crush romney in a landslide. Then, after two disastrous “moderates” MAYBE we’ll be shed of the kind of candidate Peggy Noonan and David Frum can love.

babygiraffe on February 9, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Buy Danish on February 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Wow. Don’t you ever get tired? Almost every night you have a new one of these types that you have to educate, then they disappear, and a new one pops up and it starts all over.

csdeven on February 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

You haven’t even the courtesy of knowing what the heck you’re talking about.

Portia46 on February 9, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Oh, the irony. LOL!!!!

Gunlock Bill on February 9, 2012 at 5:20 PM

You really want to get into the weeds, Ignition Bill? Really? I could copy and paste the most amazing things, taken straight from your church’s records. Joseph Smith, your revered founder and “prophet” was a real stem-winder of a speaker but he hasn’t a patch on theology and God’s messages to Brigham Young.

Shall we start with this proclamation of god’s “messenger” and restorer of the only true gospel?

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409) [Whole sermon click here.]

– Joseph Smith: founder, prophet, seer, and revelator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tell you what. You read St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and use whatever translation you wish and then come back equipped to discuss theology.

Portia46 on February 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM

It is nice how you want to twist the belief in the universal Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of men to be a negative.

Good show.

The Bible is very explicit in declaring Jesus as the “only begotten” Son of Providence.

Jesus IS the only begotten Son of God, but He is not the only son of God.

The Bible very clearly describes Satan as a son of God.

Job 1:6 ¶ Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.

The LDS don’t believe any further relationship than that.

So, by your definition you eliminate any “Christian” who believes that Job is scripture.

It is very clear that Mormons and their false other book are not Christian.

From the title page of the Book of Mormon.

And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations

Also, you didn’t read this from a non-LDS fellow.

Also, you are excluding this Book of Mormon believing Baptist (whom you believe are “Christian”).

And in neither case does it separate “OBVIOUSLY Christian” people from my definition of Christianity. “Study to shew thyself approved”, Gunlock Bill, and quit throwing softballs.

John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Like I said, make my day.

Gunlock Bill on February 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I can’t stand Romney. He’s mean to the bone and his slash and burn tactics will destroy this party.

Portia46 on February 9, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Can you please whine and 8itch a bit louder?

csdeven on February 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Like I said, make my day.

Gunlock Bill on February 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Biblical scholarship must bow to Rabbinical scholarship and tradition when it’s the Old Testament, and you do know that Job wasn’t retelling an actual meeting or court before God? It was a poem or a play, much like Dante’s Inferno is a story. That does not diminish its importance or its inspiration, only that it’s not retelling history or legend.

In regards to the Book of Mormon, may I commend anyone who has the patience to get through the whole thing. Citing it as “scripture” is like citing Maxine as philosophy. The anachronisms alone are sufficient to put it in the same creative realm as Superman, except that Superman is better literature. Mark Twain read it and if you’ve never read “Roughing It” you should. It’s hilarious. Here’s part of his review:

All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few, except the elect have seen it or at least taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me. It is such a pretentious affair and yet so slow, so sleepy, such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print.
If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle. Keeping awake while he did it, was at any rate. If he, according to tradtion, merely translated it from certain ancient and myteriously engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out of the way locality, the work of translating it was equally a miracle for the same reason.

The book seems to be merely a prosey detail of imaginary history with the Old Testament for a model followed by a tedious plegiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint old fashioned sound and structure of our King James translation of the scriptures. The result is a mongrel, half modern glibbness and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained, the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern, which was about every sentence or two, he ladeled in a few such scriptural phrases as, “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc. and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass,” was his pet. If he had left that out, his bible would have been only a pamphlet.

The title page goes as follows: “The Book of Mormon, an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi. Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites – Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnan of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile. Written by way of commandment and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation – written and sealed up and hid up unto the Lord that they might not be destroyed, to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof – sealed by the hand of Moroni and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile – the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

And then Twain devolves into pure slap stick.

Portia46 on February 10, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I’m quite sure you disagree with me on all the above, but it’s hardly grounds for calling someone unhinged.
tom on February 9, 2012 at 8:34 PM

His first comment to me was “unhinged” right off the bat and immediately set off alarm bells (it was in response to my taking issue with a commenter who described New England states as “crap holes”). In case you missed it:

I have been a lurker here since 2009 and only recently became a commenter due to the recent open registration. That means I know all there is to know about your Hot Air crapola. That also means I already know most of the people here mock you behind your back, to your face, and any other way possible, because you are most definitely mock-worthy. So your “And the jury is not persuaded” argumentum ad populum does not even fit with the populum, but only in your own demented brainless head.
John Hitchcock on February 9, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Yep, apparently I’m demented but he’s not because he stands with the guy who has the “crap hole” assessment of states in America the Beautiful. Also notable, after recounting his experience living in “latrines”, he announced he “bleeds grey and scarlet”, and was sure to let me know he’d been to Hawaii (you’ll pardon me if I missed his point). Later he went on to call me a “donut seller” (a term his is so proud of he repeated it numerous times!). For all his “lurking” he missed the Muslim Cartoon Controversy (perhaps he was walking the Mexico/Texas border then?). No doubt this all makes perfect sense and sounds very reasonable…to him.

J.H. tries to sound oh so reasonable while employing extremist verbiage. He uses inflammatory language – calling Romney “anti-Christian” and “anti-Catholic” while expressing some perfunctory admiration for Mormons.

He claims the Mass mandate itself is “anti-Christian” (which would make Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation “anti-Christian”, but I digress). Were Romney’s vetoes also “anti-Christian”? Romney opposed specific coverage mandates placed on insurers and wanted Mass residents to have the option of purchasing high deductible/catastrophic care. This was an option available to Federal employees but will be banned under ObamaCare – after Obama assured us we’d have the same benefits Congress enjoys.

If this sounds like reasonable stuff thinking to you, so be it. We’ll have to agree to disagree…

Buy Danish on February 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Portia46 on February 10, 2012 at 1:19 PM

You probably haven’t read it. So, your book review is null and void.

NuclearPhysicist on February 10, 2012 at 2:42 PM

In regards to the Book of Mormon, may I commend anyone who has the patience to get through the whole thing.

Right. Because you didn’t get through the whole thing. Got it.

And then Twain devolves into pure slap stick.

Portia46 on February 10, 2012 at 1:19 PM

So, Samuel Clemens is your authority on things religion. Got it.

Gunlock Bill on February 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM