Romney Takes Big Lead in Nevada, Voters Don't Mind His Recent 'Gaffes'
Mitt Romney has supposedly been the king of fail since he won Florida on Tuesday, but Republican voters in Nevada seem not to have noticed:
Romney up big in Nevada
Mitt Romney is headed for a dominant victory in Nevada on Saturday. PPP finds him polling at 50% to 25% for Newt Gingrich, 15% for Ron Paul, and 8% for Rick Santorum.
Certainly in Nevada the Mormon vote will get a lot of attention and Romney leads Paul 78-14 with that group, which we project to account for 20% of the vote. But Romney's dominance in Nevada goes well beyond that. He's winning voters describing as 'very conservative,' a group he's had huge amount of trouble with in other states, by a 43-34 margin over Gingrich. He's also winning men, women, Hispanics, whites, and every age group that we track. This will be a pretty thorough victory for him....
The poll was taken on Wednesday and Thursday. Romney's big "gaffe" -- his national-TV rollout of that talking point about the "very poor" -- happened Wednesday morning. Clearly it's had no negative impact on his standing with his party's voters in Nevada.
The left criticized Romney for seeming to be heartless. Nevada Republicans, being Republicans, don't care if he's heartless. The right attacked Romney for endorsing a government safety net at all. Now, you'd think Nevada Republicans would be quite Randian on that subject -- Republicans do think government is horrifically evil. But, in my experience, Republicans do acknowledge the existence of a subset of the population called "the truly needy" -- they do know there's that kid down the street with cystic fibrosis who can't really be described as a "bum on welfare." But wingers think this population bloc is tiny, and further believe that anyone whose problems aren't glaring is a bum on welfare -- except themselves when they need (or become eligible for) government benefits; then it's "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" time.
So, at least as far as the GOP rank-and-file is concerned, the concept actually was pitched correctly by Romney and his message-crafters -- he just messed up the delivery. He probably alienated swing voters he'll need in the fall, and he screwed up by igniting a media firestorm, but he didn't say anything that offended or alienated his base.