Is Romney's "Southern Problem" Overstated?

In a recent interview with an Alabama radio station, Mitt Romney alluded to the challenges he faces in the Deep South by comparing campaigning there to playing "an away game."

Indeed, connecting with voters in the heart of Dixie is a particularly difficult test for a Boston business titan who takes the skin off of his fried chicken before eating it and who governed a state that is synonymous with Yankee liberalism.

After Romney increased his delegate lead on Super Tuesday, expectations for him were downgraded to the lowest in recent memory as the GOP primary fight headed to Mississippi and Alabama on Tuesday.

Despite his victories in Florida and Virginia, the lingering question over Romney’s ability to win in the South is one of the main reasons he hasn't seized the mantle as the inevitable Republican nominee.

But a closer look at the numbers reveals that Romney’s “Southern problem” may be overstated.

“In the general election, the South is going to be a strength for Mitt Romney,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “His weakness in the South means this primary drags on, but once November rolls around, Romney’s Southern problem will be over. Southerners may not like Mitt Romney, but they certainly don’t like Barack Obama.”

Read more from Scott Conroy at RealClearPolitics

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published this page in In The News 2012-03-09 15:30:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy