An overwhelming majority of influential Republicans from Massachusetts say Mitt Romney has missed an opportunity so far in the presidential race by not explaining Romneycare and how it differs from Obamacare: that’s the finding of this week’s inaugural Red Commonwealth survey of influential conservatives.
When Patch asked Bay State Republicans what part of Romney's record as Massachusetts governor he has explained poorly to conservatives, one respondent said:
"Romney has not adequately explained the difference between the Massachusetts version of universal healthcare and the federal version."
90% of survey responders agreed Romney had missed an opportunity on Romneycare.
Another respondent said Romney has not done a good job of explaining "how his initial draft of health care was amended by the Legislature and changed considerably with expensive provisions."
One hundred and five Massachusetts Republicans were surveyed last week in Patch’s inaugural Red Commonwealth poll, which focused on November’s biggest race.
Forty responses were collected.
When asked if they thought President Obama has done a good job of negatively explaining Mitt Romney's economic accomplishments, 50% of respondents said they either somewhat disagree or disagree with the statement.
But when influencers were asked if they felt Romney has done a good job of explaining his own economic accomplishments as governor of Massachusetts, 38% said they only somewhat agree with the statement.
"Most conservatives know that Mitt accomplished a lot just by keeping a lid on spending and taxes with a legislature that had a supermajority of Democrats able to over ride any veto. This is why it is difficult to explain nationwide because most states are not in that situation," one respondent wrote.
When asked which part of Romney's record as governor he has explained well, a plurality of the responders focused on taxes.
"He managed a fiscal crisis," one person said.
Other Republicans pointed to Romney's work stimulating the state economy, balancing the budget and not raising taxes as governor.
"He did not raise state taxes while governor. Unemployment went down during his time at the State House. With a nearly all-Democrat legislature he tried to maintain marriage as between a man and woman."
Several other respondents noted Romney's work in a Democratically-controlled legislature.
"I think it illustrates a lot of the frustration that GOP insiders are having with the Romney campaign," said Andrew Smith, associate professor of Political Science and director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.
"But their responses also show how complicated and nuanced the explanation would have to be, and how difficult that is in a campaign."
Red Commonwealth Survey
Our surveys are not a scientific, random sample of any larger population, but rather an effort to listen to a group of influential local Republican activists, party leaders, candidates and elected officials in Massachusetts. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in Massachusetts’s Patch’s surveys, although not all responded to this story’s questions. Surveys were conducted from July 8 to July 13, 2012.
Patch will be conducting Red Commonwealth and Blue Commonwealth surveys throughout the 2012 election season in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and progressives on the ground in Massachusetts. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in periodic surveys that last just a few minutes, please contact Associate Regional Editor Katie Curley-Katzman at Katherine@patch.com.
Red Commonwealth Survey Roster
Massachusetts survey participants include:
Name Town/Position Name Town/Position Paul Adams
Andover, candidate for state representative Elaine Appel
Hamilton, Republican Committee Andrew Applegate Suffolk University Steve Aylward MA, Republican State Committee Chris Barrett
Reading, selectman Vonnie Boyle MA, Republican State Committee Jack Buba Marblehead, Republican Town Committee Dean Carvaretta Acton, candidate for State Senate Amy Carnevale Marblehead, Republican
Town Committee chair
David Carnevale Medford, former State Senate candidate Ted Cinella
Melrose, Republican City Committee Wayne Comeau
Danvers, Republican Town Committee
Framingham, Republican Angel Connell Westford, Republican Mark Crowley
Medford, Republican Committee Harriet Davis
Wenham, former selectman
Woburn, candidate for State Representative John DiMascio Watertown, Republican Lindsay DiNatale Charlestown, Republican Bill Doherty Cape Cod, County Commissioner John Dorr Medford, Republican
Scott Frasca Peabody, Republican Kent George Wayland, Republican George Gerogountzos Stoneham, candidate for state representative Dick Gilmore Danvers, Republican John Golnik Carlisle, candidate for U.S. Congress Bernie Green Medford, Republican Committee Jim Hatherley
Westborough, Republican Town Committee
Westford, Republican James Healy
Needham, Republican Town Committee
McKenzie Hebert Shrewsbury, Republican Chad Heipler MA, Republican Frank Herschede Danvers, Republican Eleanor Hersey Framingham, Republican Brad Hill Hamilton, State Representative Jarrod Hochman Peabody, Republican Chuck Holden Peabody, Republican Randy Hunt Sandwich, State Representative Steven Jeffries Beacon Hill, Republican Evan Kenney Wakefield, Republican Caucus alternate Tracy Lawrence
Salem, Republican Janet Leombruno
Krista Lynch North Andover, Republican James Lyons Andover, State Representative Brian Major
Andover, Republican Mario Marchese
Wilmington, Republican Town Committee Brad Marston Beacon Hill, Republican Bob Mauceri North Reading, selectman John McCarthy Peabody, Republican Brian McCarty
Somerville, Republican City Committee
Ed McGrath MA, Republican State Committee Laurie McManus Watertown, Republican Town Committee Monica Medeiros Melrose, Republican City Committee Louise Miller
Needham, Republican Town Committee
Philip Mitza Somerville, Republican Michael Morales Medford, Republican City Committee Jim Morse Medford, Republican Lisa J. Murray Hamilton, Republican
Peter Nicolas Marblehead, Republican Town Committee Ed Niell Westwood, Republican Town Committee Doug Obey Westwood, Republican Town Committee Sean O'Brien Salem, Republican Committee Joseph O'Keefe Salem, city councilor Don Ordway Tewksbury, Republican Town Committee Ted Owens Needham, Republican Town Commitee chairman Teresa Perrier MA, Republican Sue Pope Wayland, Republican Jim Powell Martha's Vineyard, Republican Michael Prisco
North Reading, selectman Nancy Quimby
Westborough, Republican Town Committee Patrick Rahilly North Andover, attorney Sharon Randall Marblehead Republican Town Committee Katelyn Regan
West Roxbury, Republican Tim Regan
Charlestown, Republican Alan Reiss Wayland, Republican Evan Rice MA, Republican Committee member James Ridge
Watertown, Republican Lena Robinson
Marblehead, party consultant
MA, Republican Marty Scafidi
Tewksbury, Republican Jesse Segovia
Lexington, Republican Town Committee chairman Joe Selvaggi
Beacon Hill, Republican Todd Siegel Salem, city councilor Rosemary Smedile North Andover, Republican Francis Stanton
Waltham, candidate for state representative
Hamilton, selectman and political director for Richard Tisei Ben Tafoya
North Reading, selectman
Tom Terranova Lynnfield, Republican John Toto
Somerville, candidate for state representative Alex Vispoli Andover, selectman Tom Weaver Westford, candidate for U.S. Congress Ken Weisman Hopkinton, Republican Brad Williams
West Roxbury, Republican Committee chairman Richard Wise
Salem, Republican Committee
Val Wormell Westford, selectman Joseph Zarrella Braintree, State House intern Allan Zenowitz MA, Republican State Committee