Jan. 10, 2012
BOSTON — On the surface, Mitt Romney's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns look the same: He meets voters, stresses his business credentials and tries to make the case that he would be the best candidate to compete against Barack Obama.
In 2008, Romney lost the New Hampshire primary to John McCain by five percentage points and his campaign never recovered. But as of Jan. 9, 2012, polls are predicting a strong Romney victory in the state.
Tufts University political science professor Jeff Berry says the main difference between then and now is the rest of the Republican field:
“Having John McCain has his primary opponent was quite formidable. McCain was very well respected and the electorate responded favorably toward him. And it quickly became a McCain/ Romney race," Berry says. "In this go-round, he’s facing a very weak field. So, having five opponents, all of whom are deeply flawed, is helping Romney because he’s basically the only one left in a lot of people’s minds.”
Berry thinks Romney will probably win the Republican nomination but says there are still some potential political obstacles: "There is the thought that Ron Paul could run as a third-party candidate in November, and if he does that, it kills Romney’s chances for president."
Or, Berry says, if Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum runs very strongly in New Hampshire, one of them could emerge as a consensus anti-Romney candidate and go on to win in South Carolina.
WGBH ELECTION CENTRAL