Familiarity Breeds Contempt as Home States Reject Romney/Ryan


Not since 1916 has a candidate lost his home state and won the White House. If Romney loses Michigan or Massachusetts and wins the White House, he will be the first candidate since Woodrow Wilson to lose his home state and yet win the election.

The list of candidates who lost their home state and lost the election is long, and it includes Al Gore, George H W Bush (1992), Hubert Humphrey (1968), George McGovern (1972), and Adlai Stevenson (1952 and 1956- double play).


Right now, Romney isn’t just losing one home state (since he has two to pick from, the chances of him winning one of them would seem to increase), he’s losing them both.

And down the ticket? His Vice Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, is also losing his home state of Wisconsin.

Here’s the break down via polls right now:

In Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, Obama leads by 7 points.

In Massachusetts where Mitt Romney was governor, Obama is up in three different polls by 28 points, 22 points and 18 points.

And in Michigan where Mitt Romney’s father was governor and Romney grew up, Obama holds an 8 point lead over Romney.

In Michigan, Mitt Romney had the advantage of being the son of the beloved former Governor George Romney. But Mitt Romney stabbed Michigan (and his father, a former auto exec who managed a turn around in very challenging circumstances) in its heart when he wrote, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”. Michigan knows that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about jobs in America or American manufacturing. They also know that he’s two faced, because after Obama rescued the auto industry, Romney tried to take credit for it. That doesn’t go over well in the heartland, where they tell you to your face if they don’t like you.

In Massachusetts, Romney started off well but after his party lost the midterms, he was accused of basically pulling a Palin. Romney was never around for the last two years of his governorship. A March 2005 poll found that only 32 percent felt Romney should be re-elected if he ran for a second term as governor. It got worse. In 2006, Romney spent 212 days out of state, campaigning.

In 2006, his disapproval ratings hit a new low with 65 percent of residents disapproving of his job performance, as residents grumbled that he was never around.

“He was basically never here,” says Kilduff, a Republican who says she was annoyed when Romney poked fun at Massachusetts and also when he swooped in to take over the Big Dig project after a woman was killed in a tunnel accident.

“I don’t think anyone should be micromanaging when they’re not here.”

As he left office, he managed to bounce up to 59 percent unfavorable for his job performance, if you can call near 60 percent unfavorable an “up”.

When familiarity breeds contempt, it doesn’t bode well. Those states have stories to tell, and when those stories are about exceptionally disappointing job performance numbers and a betrayal of honesty and basic American values, the nation tends to listen.

Additional Sources: Phillips, Frank (March 11, 2005). “Poll shows Romney bid for president faces hurdles, The Boston Globe. Wangsness, Lisa (December 26, 2006). “Voters voice regard, regret over Romney – Huge potential unment, some say”. The Boston Globe.

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