2012 Election | Mitt Romney | News | Republican Party

Lead Romney 2012 Strategist: Mitt Lost on Gay Marriage, Contraception

Romney's lead strategist Stuart Stevens writes in the Washington Post today that it wasn't the so-called "tech gap" that lost Romney the election, it was the substance of his platform:

Concession_romneyYes, the Romney campaign won seniors and lost voters under 30, though our numbers were a significant improvement from the 2008 presidential campaign. But was this a tech-driven gap or more reflective of substance?

Like most things in life, the answer is a bit of both. I don’t think it’s very controversial to suggest that a candidate who favors gay marriage and free contraception might have more appeal to a younger demographic. Does anyone want to argue that free contraception is seen as a more pressing issue to your average 21-year-old than to a 55-year-old voter, or that there are more gay rights organizations on college campuses than in VFW halls?

Likewise, why did Mitt Romney win older voters? They are more concerned with the economy than with same-sex marriage, and they are more skeptical of or opposed to Obamacare.

"Content is king" argues Stevens, and the Republican party's content at the moment, just isn't.

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  1. Wow. Talk about clueless.

    Yes, the problem is with substance, not "messaging." But I don't for a second believe (though I'd like to) that it was opposing gay marriage that lost it for Romney. Contraception probably did cost him more.

    But beyond those - self-deportation, anyone? How about 47%? Maybe incoherence on health care? And basic arithmetic gaps in his tax plan? Anyone?

    And Stuart Stevens thinks it was gay marriage - this, from the guy who had Romney convinced he was winning in a landslide up until the close of the polls.

    Posted by: JamesInCA | Feb 25, 2013 12:08:36 PM

  2. And it may also be that some of the formerly younger voters who have become older - like myself - cannot be counted on to become conservative. I still think that woman have a right to choose, don't think that a candidate's obtuse religious morality should be imposed as law, am outraged that gun laws allow for inner city killing fields, and concerned that lack of banking regulation allowed for a free fall of the economy. And then there's the issue of my own equality...

    Posted by: Mitch | Feb 25, 2013 12:11:16 PM

  3. amen, Mitch!

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 25, 2013 12:17:29 PM

  4. well, Latinos are more likely to be for marriage equality than any other ethnic group including whites.

    the Latino demographic also skews younger than any other ethnic group.


    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Feb 25, 2013 12:21:45 PM

  5. As a Democrat, naturally I only care about same sex marriage and free birth control. Keep telling yourself that so your party continues to lose elections.

    Posted by: Chadd | Feb 25, 2013 12:25:03 PM

  6. That no one from the Republican side seems to be able to figure out the simple arithmetic that if the economy isn't recovering at the rate you want it to voting for the people who broke it in the first place isn't a better option than voting for the guy who you're impatient with means they'll just keep losing elections.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Feb 25, 2013 12:33:24 PM

  7. I also haven't forgotten the party's public declaration that their first objective in 2009 was to make Obama a one-term president. It didn't work and they're doubling down on the message that didn't work.

    I still am rejoicing about the NYT article from a week ago about Republicans and obsolescence.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Feb 25, 2013 12:39:48 PM

  8. @Jonathan

    Well, yeah.

    there was a woman in the second debate who asked the only question that I wanted Mitt Romney to answer.

    She stated that Romney and George W. bush were, after all, in the same party so she asked Romney what was he going to do differently from Bush?

    Romney couldn't answer that question but later in that debate Obama was able to pin Romney on the far right by stating that Bush supported things like immigration reform and a few other things that I remember offhand.

    that moment in that debate struck me as much as the "please proceed" part of that debate.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Feb 25, 2013 12:47:21 PM

  9. It's a very tone-deaf response. Obama just won because younger voters got distracted by "free" contraception and gay marriage. BS. It's the older voters who are distracted by the Right's fear-mongering and miss that the GOP has NO plans for how to fix anything, other than handing all the power over to corporations and the most wealthy.

    Posted by: Caliban | Feb 25, 2013 12:48:11 PM

  10. As a MA Resident and someone involved in the political process since the early 90's, i have seen Mitt R. in every campaign of his career - What's his main problem you ask??? It is this and quite simply only this - He is a man who cannot maintain a position without changing it! It's that simple - examine if you will every campaign issue he has addressed in the past 20 yrs, you will find he has taken both a pro and con position on it. I am not just talking about his GLBT or Abortion issues either (both of which he has been on both sides of the fence)...... Beyond that he just comes off as a patronizing mysognistic plurocrat....

    Posted by: aj | Feb 25, 2013 1:01:19 PM

  11. This cameleon of a man would have been a disaster for this country if he had won.

    Thankfully, the American people were smarter this time around (than during the Bush era).

    What did he offer to this country? Nothing but tax savings for the rich, and religion brought into civil discussions.

    Thank GOD for his electoral loss!

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Feb 25, 2013 1:05:09 PM

  12. He is a braindead moron who mentions the teabagger slogan of "free contraception" several times. What an idiot. It's not free. It's insurance. People pay for it because they insured.

    Posted by: Steve | Feb 25, 2013 1:09:39 PM

  13. http://www.people-press.org/obama-romney-voter-preferences/ shows voters preferences for Obama versus Romney over time, with the right-most column giving numbers for 11/03/2012, broken down by a variety of categories. By age, 47 percent of those 50 years old or older favored Obama while 46 percent favored Romney (the rest must have expressed no preference or didn't want to answer the questions). Romney did better
    (43% for Obama versus 49% for Romney) only in the "65 and older" category, but was behind in the "50 to 64 year old" category (49% for Obama versus 44% for Romney). Given that the 65+ category is open ended, Romney's advantage must have come from the "oldest of the old" demographic.

    Romney was ahead in the "weekly or more" religious attendance group. The Party and Ideology breakdown was pretty much what one would have guessed. The region of the country with the most support for Romney was the South.

    The data seems to be from a series of Pew Research Center surveys.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 25, 2013 1:46:58 PM

    There are ways to convey opposition to marriage equality, contraception, and abortion that are not hateful and contemptuous in tone. Fortunately for those who wanted Pres Obama re-elected, the republican tone was all about pleasing old and rich voters, as well as bigots and haters.

    Posted by: Bob | Feb 25, 2013 3:47:17 PM

  15. Contraception: The closeted homosexuals who live life on the Down Low also lost most of their followers on this issue. Thank the gods that they were not smart enough to realize just how gigantic a mistake Paul VI's decision banning contraception was. It really lead to a majority of Western Catholics to begin to ignore the Church's moral teachings. Of course their cover up of the homosexuasl clerical crimes against children, mostly boys was another nail in their coffin.

    Posted by: andrew | Feb 25, 2013 8:34:08 PM

  16. No Republican who ran could have beaten Obama. He was an incredibly weak candidate, but the Republicans were even worse. The Tea Party nuts are an albatross around the neck of the party. You can't to appeal to crazy people without sounding crazy yourself.

    Posted by: Armando | Feb 25, 2013 11:31:28 PM

  17. For me, Paul Ryan was the "Kiss of Death" for Romney. When Mr. Ryan stated that upon being elected, he and Mr. Romney's first order of business was to turn back gay rights, that sealed the deal for me.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Feb 26, 2013 2:58:12 AM

  18. The answer is simple...Mitt Romney,who once said he was more"gay"then Ted Kennedy on issues FLIP-FLOPPED on so many issues, especially those he supported to get elected in Massachusetts.

    I'm not complaining,however Mr. Romney thought he could go from middle of the Right Wing all the way to the "Right House"!

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Feb 26, 2013 3:05:03 AM

  19. Two words lost the election: Racism and Death. Repugs don't like Blacks or Latinos, and their party is dying right out from under them.

    Posted by: DC Arnold | Feb 26, 2013 8:43:43 AM

  20. No, sir, you are wrong. Mitt Romney lost because he was an inferior candidate with no vision and no core principles or beliefs. He lost because he pandered to the Republican party's lowest common denominators and did so shamelessly. He lost because he was more concerned with demeaning the majority of American who work for a living by calling them freeloaders.

    In short, Mitt Romney was the worst candidate the Republican party could have chosen. Remember what Ann Coulter said: "Choose Chris Christie and the Republicans will win in November. Choose Mitt Romney and the Republicans will lose."

    She was right (at least about Mitt Romney; we'll never know about Chris Christie).

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 26, 2013 11:44:03 AM

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