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SALT LAKE CITY -- It doesn't take long to understand that for the upcoming 2012 presidential election, nearly all professed Republicans have the same goal in mind -- to beat President Barack Obama.
As the engine of the upcoming election cycle heat's up, with only three weeks to go before the first Republican debate in New Hampshire, one potential candidate appears to be the front-runner capable to battle it out with President Obama. But there's one thing missing -- an actual declaration from the candidate.
Although an official announcement has not been formally made, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has taken all the right steps to lead the Republican Party in an uphill battle against the Democrats next November for the White House.
According to a recent poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, Romney is the clear Republican favorite in the Granite State, with one-third of Republican voters overwhelmingly indicating that they would vote for Romney if the election were held today.
The closest competitor to Romney was current U.S. Rep. Ron Paul from Texas, collecting only 9 percent of votes.
"The shifting nature of the Republican field and a perception that the ‘perfect candidate' has not appeared, has led many New Hampshire Republicans to support the best known candidate, Mitt Romney," said Andrew Smith, Director of the UNH Survey Center. "Romney has been the clear favorite among New Hampshire Republicans for more than two years and no other candidate has persuaded voters to move away from Romney."
Republicans are looking for someone who can take on President Obama, and right now, Romney is seen as the only Republican who can do that.
Additionally, several reputable polls conducted since President Obama took office over two years ago have had Romney as the clear favorite for the Republican ticket.
"Republicans are looking for someone who can take on President Obama, and right now, Romney is seen as the only Republican who can do that," added Smith.
Since his defeat in 2008 to eventual Republican nominee John McCain, Romney has been the focus for much of the nation's Republican Party, including his adopted home of Utah. Several candidates have made a splash in the water, but nothing seems to compare to the wave pool backing Romney and his influence on the Party.
As a candidate in an exploratory committee, Romney raised more money than any other committed candidate in one day. On May 16, Romney accumulated a total of $10.25 million in an eight-hour "Call Day" push.
"I cannot compete with a Romney when it comes to money. He has at his disposal his own personal fortune," said already committed presidential hopeful Herman Cain to POLITICO. "I don't come anywhere near that, quite frankly. He has a fundraising network because he has run before."
Romney has the advantage of an already well-oiled network that is ready to propel him into the lead of a Party ready for change. And with several well- known candidates bowing out of the competition, including Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, Romney seems to be the clear favorite.
I cannot compete with a Romney when it comes to money. He has at his disposal his own personal fortune. I don't come anywhere near that, quite frankly. He has a fundraising network because he has run before.
"Romney also appears to benefit from the perception that he is a strong leader and has the right experience to be President," said Keating Holland, CNN Polling Director. "He also gets relatively high marks on the economy and the budget deficit, and despite criticism of the health care policy Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts, he has a solid lead over his GOP rivals on that issue as well."
Romney is not without his critics though. While Governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed into law a health care bill that resembles "ObamaCare," which is something that the Republican base fought -- and is still fighting -- tirelessly against.
Additionally, Romney is a professed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which hurt him last presidential cycle against evangelical voters. But with Huckabee out of the race, Romney has the opportunity to convince voters that he is their guy.
Even many Utahns hold Romney close to their heart as a favorite for the nomination, despite former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. likely to enter the race. Although the voting would have been close, Huntsman likely hurt his hometown base following his comments of his Mormon faith being "tough to define."
In the meantime, Romney continues to be the national favorite with just over six months to go before the first caucus in Iowa and primary in New Hampshire.
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