The Republican Party still has a significant number of members who identify themselves as moderates or liberals. However, in primary and caucus contests this election season, the group only topped 50 percent of the electorate in Vermont’s primary on Super Tuesday, The Washington Post’s political blog The Fix
The other states with significant numbers of liberal or moderate GOP members are Massachusetts, with 49 percent, and New Hampshire, with 47 percent. All other states, except for Michigan, have self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters below 35 percent of the GOP electorate.
The lowest numbers of liberal/moderate GOP voters were found in Iowa and Nevada, with both registering 17 percent. Of the 16 states the Post examined, the average number of liberals or moderate GOP members was 33 percent compared with 67 percent who identified with somewhat or very conservative.
It should come as no surprise that the liberal to moderate Republicans favor former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He won that segment of the vote in every contest examined except in Georgia, Newt Gingrich’s home state, and Iowa, where that vote went to Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Paul and Romney split the liberal/moderate vote in Virginia, the Post reported.
Romney’s success with that sliver of the GOP is not enough to carry him to victory in the primaries.
“In order to clinch the nomination, Romney must not only consolidate his support among the 33 percent [or so] of Republicans who describe themselves as moderates or liberals but also find a way to win more of the conservative vote,” the Post wrote. “Romney will never be the favorite of a majority of conservative Republicans but he simply can’t afford to lose them as badly as he has been and hope to beat Santorum in states outside of the coasts of the country.”
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