Team Romney knows that this is an issue for the former Massachusetts governor, whether or not they want to admit it. Luckily for Romney, no other candidate seems to be able to surge ahead in the polls either.
Between now and when the primaries begin, it is doubtful that Romney will overcome this glaring hurdle. Romney’s best bet to quell this chatter in the interim is to win the Iowa caucuses. Maeve Reston at the Los Angeles Times weighs in:
[F]or months, the threshold of support for the former Massachusetts governor hasn’t inched above a quarter of Republican voters in national polls. For many GOP voters in early primary states, hesitation about Romney comes back to one thing: their perception that he has routinely molded his views to suit the political mood, with ambition his overriding principle.
“He’s not a person we could trust to lead our country,” said Angela Cesar, a 41-year-old Republican from Ypsilanti, Mich., who said Romney had changed his position on too many issues. “He’s going to be listening to voices outside. I want someone who can hear his own voice — a clear voice.”
Romney’s advisors say the argument that their candidate is a political contortionist will not resonate because voters are concerned about the economy — and little else. But in his failed 2008 bid, when the issue was raised — as now — by opponents, it hit its mark not because of the issues involved but because of what Romney’s flip-flops suggested about his character.
The campaign demonstrated sensitivity to the problem in this race: Romney has strongly defended the health insurance mandate that he instituted in Massachusetts, even though it is reviled by GOP voters, rather than reverse himself on it. Romney’s aides have also leveled charges of flip-flopping at GOP rival Rick Perry and at President Obama, who Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said has “a new slogan and a new mission every day.”
Recent statements by Romney on other subjects also have raised eyebrows. Shortly before Ohio voters this month defeated a ballot measure that would have limited collective bargaining rights for public employees, Romney said the initiative was “up to the people” — backing off an earlier Facebook post in support of the measure. The following day he said he was “110%” in support of it and was sorry if he “created any confusion in that regard.”