Romney Paul Iowa – Mitt Romney is a close race with Ron Paul in Iowa and their confidence is growing as they lock to seize the building momentum in the Republican presidential race with a victory in Tuesday’s Iowa leadoff caucuses, but rivals worked to undermine the perception that they were the candidate best positioned to defeat President Barack Obama.
The final Des Moines Register poll showed the former Massachusetts governor and Texas Rep. Ron Paul locked in a close race in Iowa, with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum rising swiftly to challenge them. Nearly half of likely Iowa caucus-goers view Romney as the Republican most likely to win the November general election. He was far ahead of Santorum and Paul in this regard.
With Romney in a position of strength in Iowa, both Santorum and Paul went directly at Romney’s chief argument — that he is the most electable Republican in a head-to-head matchup against Obama next fall.
They hope they can sway the roughly half of likely caucus-goers who say they are undecided or willing to change their minds two days before Iowa begins the state-by-state nominating contests spread over the next six months.
Only three or four candidates typically make it out of Iowa with enough momentum and money to continue in the race.
Paul and Santorum were fighting against the notion in Republican circles that their bases of support are narrow and neither would be able to cobble together the diverse voting coalition necessary to beat Obama in November.
The libertarian-leaning Paul attracts legions of backers who like his message of states’ rights and limited central government, while Santorum — an anti-abortion crusader — is popular among Christian conservatives who make up a large segment of the Republican Party base.
In contrast, Romney has styled himself as a Republican able to attract a broad spectrum of voters. As polls showed him with a narrow lead in Iowa in the past week, he has redoubled his effort to portray himself as the business-savvy executive with national appeal who is best able to challenge Obama on the campaign’s most pressing issue, the economy. Polls show Obama is vulnerable as he seeks a second term, weighed down with voter dissatisfaction over the sputtering recovery from the Great Recession.