NEW YORK — If some conservatives could describe Mitt Romney’s performance during Monday night’s debate in only two words, it would be these: focus group. Throughout the night, they agreed, the Republican nominee seemed to be throwing out catchwords and phrases designed to appeal to the independent voters and women who might decide the election.
Jim Geraghty of the National Review gave the edge to Romney, but still said, “I think Romney’s answers were tailor-made to wow a focus group, and I don’t mean that entirely complimentary.” Bing West, a former Reagan administration official, wrote:
Only gradually did it become clear that the Romney strategy was not to fight, but to woo. The difference between the genders in the choice of candidates has been striking, and Romney’s performance would lead no reasonable undecided voter, female or male, to worry he was too bellicose.
But that doesn’t mean Romney actually did well with the much-mocked public opinion surveying method.
Among a National Journal group of “Walmart moms,” “President Obama scored a decisive win with the swing voters,” the magazine reported. Romney’s answers seemed “hypocritical” and canned.
Among voters pooled by Frank Luntz — who also asked them how Mitt Romney had done on economic issues, during the foreign policy debate — the vast majority likewise went with Obama as the winner.