Luntz Focus Group: Romney Was Clear Winner in Debate

Friday, 23 Sep 2011 04:50 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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A focus group assembled by pollster Frank Luntz after Thursday night’s Fox News/Google-sponsored Republican presidential debate overwhelmingly chose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the clear winner.

Members of the group, assembled for a special edition of Sean Hannity’s show, labeled Romney as “presidential” and “Reaganesque” — and said Perry fared badly under attack.
 
I thought Perry was too defensive the entire time,” one woman said. “He spent too much time fighting with Romney instead of talking about his policies.”
 
Luntz asked the group what they thought of Perry’s immigration policy, which came under attack from several of the nine candidates who took the stage in the debate. The pollster noted that Perry said those who don’t support education for illegal immigrants lack compassion.
 
“When you holdup free healthcare or free education to people who want to get their children in their lives served, that’s a temptation to come,” another woman said. “That’s actually putting peoples’ lives at risk it's not a compassionate thing to hold up.”
 
“The thing that I’m tired of is being told that I’m heartless in being conservative and it’s unacceptable,” one man said. “We can take care of the immigrants without subsidizing them, without coddling them, without making this a possibility for them to come in.”
 
Luntz asked why so many of his group believed Romney won the debate, and why several had switched from supporting other candidates to now backing the former Massachusetts governor.
 
“I’ve been concerned about what he did with healthcare in Massachusetts, but he did say that his one of his first things out the gate would be to repeal Obamacare, and so that made me feel better about where he stood on the issue,” a woman said.
 
“We’re looking for accountability and he has said I made mistakes and I’m willing to take responsibility for them and this is what I would have done differently,” another woman said. “That’s what we want in a president.”

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