So says a a new poll. Here’s Chris Cilliza’s WaPo blog on the results:
Mitt Romney is the choice of nearly one in four of those who agree with the tenets of the tea party, according to a new Pew poll, a surprising result that suggests the former Massachusetts governor’s support heading into 2012 may be broader than previously assumed.
Among tea party supporters, Romney took 24 percent to 19 percent for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, 15 percent for former House speaker Newt Gingrich and 13 percent for Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
Now, I don’t think Mitt is necessarily the choice of Tea Party leaders, but he obviously runs strong with the ground troops — in spite of the MassCare issue — and it’s easy to see why. In a time of fiscal crisis, who else offers his level of experience? He’s turned around companies, turned around the Olympics, and rescued Massachusetts from fiscal disaster.
Regarding health care — and I literally cannot say this enough — he initiated reforms in Massachusetts only after he fixed the budget. Obama did no such thing, rather viewing economic crisis as an opportunity to cram down sweeping social reform. The contrast is dramatic.
I think we’ll see Mitt run with “surprising” strength across the entire Republican spectrum, with his main competitors finding their support locked into narrower conservative demographics.