Romney struggles to seal the deal with the most conservative voters
February 21st, 2012
08:46 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney struggles to seal the deal with the most conservative voters

Mesa, Arizona (CNN) - As he has in other states, Mitt Romney seems to be having a problem getting the support of a majority of the most conservative voters in Arizona as evidenced in the new CNN/Time/ORC poll of Arizona Republicans.

Of those in the survey who said they were tea party supporters, 35% said they backed Rick Santorum while 32% said they would vote for Romney. Of those who considered themselves born-again Christians, 37% said they would vote for Santorum while 28% said they would choose Romney in next week's primary.

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Voters who considered themselves conservative were evenly split between Santorum, 35%, and Romney, 34%.

Arizona has a strong tea party presence.

Romney definitely faced some criticism from the several hundred attendees of a Monday meeting of the Arizona Red Mountain Tea Party group in Mesa.

"I don't like Romney because he's just like Obama as far as I'm concerned. He's acting like Obama," Walter Hall told CNN.

Though Romney has tried to emphasize his conservative credentials, Hall is not one who has been sold. Asked if he felt Romney was a true conservative, Hall said: "I don't think so. I don't think he is. I think he likes Obama's health care plan, and I'm not for it."

Of Romney, Harlean Miku, another attendee, said: "He just doesn't seem to have that personality that clicks with the people, like some of the candidates do. I think that's one thing that's getting with Santorum now. I think he's really clicking with the people and his values and everything."

Several people said they would support Santorum because they think he is more aligned with their views.

"I just think he's a good conservative, I think, and I just like his ideas and his issues," Glenda Hall said.

Dwight Holbrook and his wife both said they will also be supporting Santorum.

"I feel that he's the most conservative of all that we have to offer at this point, and I think he is more apt to be able to straighten things out from the situation we're in," Mr. Holbrook said.

Jim Goade already cast his ballot in early voting for Newt Gingrich. "I think he's the most conservative and has the most experience, could probably help the country the most." When asked if he thought Romney would have a hard time getting a lot of conservative support in the state Goade responded: "Yes. I think he's too moderate … I think he might flip flop on us. I don't think he will hold his ground on important things."

Despite the criticisms, Romney did have some supporters in the crowd.

Floyd Hammer said he will vote for Romney, citing his family and business background. "I like some of the things, the debates have helped me a lot," Hammer said. "I like his family character. His son spoke at our tea party about two months ago, and I think he's a pretty solid man." Hammer said he's not worried about Romney not being conservative enough.

Another Romney supporter said he already voted for his candidate. "I like Mitt Romney because he's got the economic experience. I think his experience as the Governor of Massachusetts, people downplay that as a bad thing. I think it was actually a positive thing that he could things happen in a very liberal, Democratic state. The economy is a big issue this election and I think Mitt's got it hands down, knowing the best things to do that way," said David Bowman.

You can follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @KevinBohnCNN.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Tired of republican lies

    He can't seal the deal because once he gets elected...he will stab all of us in the back to worship his corporate gods.

    February 21, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. rcw

    The most conservative voters wont be the majority in NOVEMBER

    February 21, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. sick of republican phonies

    Ol' Mitt Romney! I remember back in the day, when he thought he was going to be the next republican candidate for president! Remember those days?

    February 21, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Poor, backward conservatives... wait till PRESIDENT OBAMA wins four more years!

    February 21, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Noel Manalo

    Romney loves to abort unborn babies.

    February 21, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. Canuck

    Wonder how he's doing with the severely conservative voters?

    February 21, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. foodforthought

    Romney and the GOP candidates are just men. They have special talents and abilities to be able to do extraordinary things. I don't need Romney to say or do anything. Secretly, I have learned though time to take different views and see things in a better light. We condone changing anything – but then how are we to become better. I want to be able to say 1 year from now I am smarter and see things better than I did before. I know Romney is a conservative. I don't want anybody selling new flashy ideas, telling me they are more Christian, saying they've always been something this or something that. We are who hopefully people who grow up, stand a little taller, act a little better. I will tell you that through all of Obama's ups and downs a majority will FORGIVE HIM and give him another chance. Not the TRULY CONSERVATIVE who can easily lose this election because they say they are CHRISTIANS and don't remember the meaning of the word for the sake of their own party!!!

    February 21, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. maile

    Romney and the GOP candidates are just men. They have special talents and abilities to be able to do extraordinary things. I don't need Romney to say or do anything. Secretly, I have learned though time to take different views and see things in a better light. We condone changing anything – but then how are we to become better. I want to be able to say 1 year from now I am smarter and see things better than I did before. I know Romney is a conservative. I don't want anybody selling new flashy ideas, telling me they are more Christian, saying they've always been something this or something that. We are who hopefully people who grow up, stand a little taller, act a little better. I will tell you that through all of Obama's ups and downs a majority will FORGIVE HIM and give him another chance. Not the TRULY CONSERVATIVE who can easily lose this election because they say they are CHRISTIANS and don't remember the meaning of the word for the sake of their own party!!!

    February 21, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Romney struggles to seal the deal with the most conservative voters◄

    And that has been said for the past two or more years!! What's going to change that?

    Obama 2012!

    February 21, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. Debbie

    Careful Romney, what you promise the far right will be in every sound bite you hope every moderate, Independent and youth vote see.

    February 21, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  11. Indy

    I wonder if Romneys struggle to get conservative support is because he is not really a conservative. Who never seen this coming ?

    February 21, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. Oscar Herbert

    Romney has Much to offer our nation: deep economic knowledge, business savvy, seasoned wisdom, deep abiding commitment to individual freedom, team building skills, and absolute patriotism. Romney will defend freedom of religion, but he will not force his values on others as Santorum want to. Our national leaders, people in the know, have endorsed Romney in large numbers. Santorum's former colleagues in the senate have not endorsed him. It will be a tough race for any Republican against Obama, but Romney has a good chance. Santorum has NO chance in the general because his views are too extreme. Romney is the Right choice at this time.

    February 21, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war..."

    Oh, and hold those vaginal probes for the "christian" decreed sonograms high!

    February 21, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. The Middle

    How are Tea Party supporting Santorum I just don't understand. How do you support someone who voted to increase our debt by trillions vs who balanced a budget every year in Massachussetts? I guess the same people that think charming matters are charmed towards Santorum. How's that working with the charming Obama. Anything Santorum or Gingrinch can say how they changed and people buy it, but Romney, oh no, always labeled a flip flopper no matter what.

    February 21, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. steph

    Just wanted to be the first to post a comment under a Romney article stating he nor Santorium stand a chance against Obama.

    RON PAUL 2012! I will vote for RP no matter what!

    February 21, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  16. Nothing new here

    Even Jesus Christ would not be a suitable candidate for the extreme right/tea party voters.
    I almost feel sorry for these folks. Not one candidate is going to be the "chosen one", but these people desperately try to make golden idols out of the worst that the GOP has to offer.
    Even the great Republicans of the past, like Barry Goldwater, Reagan, N. Rockefeller, etc. would all be considered too "moderate" or anti-religious.
    The party of NO has become the party of NO ONE IS GOOD ENOUGH!
    And in the meantime, the rest of the country laughs at these delusional people:)

    February 21, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Five sons who avoided military service.

    Mitt Romney

    February 22, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. steve

    It's nice to see Mitt gave up his Gap jeans and went with Dockerstrousers and shirt instead, just like regular folk with money.

    February 22, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  19. packerfans

    Cone on Vote for Mitt Romney can save America!! Rick does not have skills and cannot beat Obama. He suppose not talk Church istead Policy only for States. Church and States are seperation!! Do not Vote for Rick!! What is wrong with Christian people are blind vote for Rick????? Pray God ask who you should vote!!

    February 22, 2012 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  20. Anthony

    Romney's biggest problem in 2012 is that Republicans have spent the last three years attacking Obama's health care plan, and his Massachusetts plan was the model for Obama's plan. Originally Obama's plan was not modeled on Romney's plan. Republicans were successful in blocking the public option that Democrats wanted. When Obama opted for the next best thing, a plan with an individual mandate, which came from the Heritage Foundation, that was when Republicans turned their back on their own idea. In 2008 the individual mandate was not a problem for Romney because Republicans had not disowned the idea. In fact, to show how much the Republican Party has moved to the right, in 2008 Romney was the conservative alternative to McCain.

    February 22, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  21. Dave

    Face it, Mittens, you flip-flop like a fish out of water and people just don't like you. It's that simple.

    February 22, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  22. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    Karl Rove has to scramble to keep his Plan to Elect the Next Neocon Robot alive. Service packs and software upgrades are uploaded regularly as the GOBP deathcult's fat men with cigars sit in their smoky room breathlessly awaiting to see if Flipper the Elitist Robot's new programming can convincingly convey "personality" and "conservativism": Failing that, they will scramble for Plans B and C, which means paying off Mr. Frothy to ride the Rmoney Train or else spring some other unvetted yahoo on the extreme rightwing sheeple and try to ram some new propagandists down their throats.

    February 22, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |