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Will Toxic GOP Governors Infect Romney?

May 7, 2012

Florida Gov. Rick Scott didn't endorse Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney until last month, after rival Rick Santorum dropped out. It was a tardy and lackluster show of support. "Mitt Romney will be our party's nominee, and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce," Scott said in a written statement, as if forced to acknowledge the inevitable, like it or not. The two former corporate executives, who could probably spend all day swapping success stories, have never campaigned together.

Still, if Democrats have their way, voters will see Romney and Scott as the great bromance of the 2012 election. That is, when President Obama's party is not trying to yoke Romney to two other tightfisted, unpopular governors--John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin--in an effort to drag down the GOP nominee in pivotal states.

Polling conducted by one influential Democratic group found that 11 percent more Florida voters said they had "very major doubts" about Romney when he was linked to Scott. The poll, which was not released publicly, tested a negative policy message against Romney, then tested it again while also tying the message to Scott.

Voters are not necessarily biased against a candidate who belongs to the party of a politician they don't like, but Democrats assert that the strategy can be effective if there is obvious common ground.

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