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 Massachusetts 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."
Ninety percent 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, including several from Needham, 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 Barack Obama has done a good job of negatively explaining Mitt Romney's economic accomplishments, 50 percent 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 percent 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
Patch 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 Patch 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 email@example.com.
Red Commonwealth Survey Roster
Massachusetts survey participants include:
||Andover, candidate for state representative||Elaine Appel
||Hamilton, Republican Committee|
|Andrew Applegate||Suffolk University||Steve Aylward||MA, Republican State Committee|
||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|
||Melrose, Republican City Committee||Wayne Comeau
||Danvers, Republican Town Committee
||Framingham, Republican||Angel Connell||Westford, Republican|
||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|
||Salem, Republican||Janet Leombruno
|Krista Lynch||North Andover, Republican||James Lyons||Andover, State Representative|
||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|
||North Reading, selectman||Nancy Quimby
||Westborough, Republican Town Committee|
|Patrick Rahilly||North Andover, attorney||Sharon Randall||Marblehead Republican Town Committee|
||West Roxbury, Republican||Tim Regan
|Alan Reiss||Wayland, Republican||Evan Rice||MA, Republican Committee member|
||Watertown, Republican||Lena Robinson
||Marblehead, party consultant
||MA, Republican||Marty Scafidi
||Tewksbury, Republican||Jesse Segovia
||Lexington, Republican Town Committee chairman|
||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|
||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|