Sarah Huisenga writes at CBS:This year, pocketbook issues seem to matter more than pulpit preaching among cultural conservatives and at least some are willing to embrace Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, who many have long looked at skeptically for his reversals on some of their priorities and his Mormon faith.
"No one's perfect," says Larry Smith of Newport Beach, Calif., one of thousands of conservatives gathering in Washington this weekend to hear from the slate of GOP candidates at the annual Values Voters Summit. Smith cast the choice before him as a compromise, and says he's leaning toward the former Massachusetts governor. Even though Romney has strayed from conservative orthodoxy on some social issues in the past, he still posts a strong record as a businessman.
"He has the skills to help us on this particular issue, at this particular time," Smith said.
By that, he means the economy, with its stubbornly high 9.1 percent unemployment rate and sluggish growth.
If interviews with conference attendees are any indication, that's what is giving Romney his best shot at winning over some of the social and Christian conservatives who he failed to attract in his first campaign in 2008.
Although Mitt Romney has visited Iowa only once since launching his campaign for president in 2012, some of the state's voters are giving him a second look.
In recent interviews several Iowa GOP leaders said that they are seeing movement toward Romney, even though the support seems more a matter of pragmatism than enthusiasm.
The state's social and religious conservatives, who dominate caucus voting, don't like Romney's moderate record on issues, particularly his embrace of a health care law in Massachusetts that served as the model for the Obama administration's much-maligned health care plan.
Even in staunchly conservative Sioux County - which former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won handily in 2008 - voters are considering the candidate they snubbed four years ago.
"A number of people I've talked to seem to be gravitating a little bit back to Romney," said Jim Plagge, treasurer of the Sioux County Republican Party. "I think more by default. I think it's not like, 'Okay he's my guy,' but it's more of, 'Well, these other ones don't seem to be doing it. I want to win. He seems to be the best opportunity to win.'"
Mitt Romney appeared on Thursday to be rapidly consolidating support among some of the Republican Party’s most sought-after uncommitted donors, who have joined Bush administration veterans and other stalwarts of the Republican establishment in backing him as the Republican field settles.
Those who have committed to Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, include James B. Lee Jr., the vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, who raised more than $500,000 for Senator John McCain in 2008; Paul Singer, the hedge fund founder and conservative philanthropist; and John A. Catsimatidis, the New York businessman and supermarket magnate.
“As all Americans would agree, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ ” Mr. Catsimatidis said Thursday. “Romney is smart enough, business-savvy enough, and has common sense to fix the economy.
Global investors like Mitt Romney better than any other U.S. presidential candidate, while remaining cool to the Republican field in general.
About one in five investors say the former Massachusetts governor and founder of private equity firm Bain Capital LLC, would be best for the world economy among all the Republican contenders, according to a Sept. 26 Bloomberg Global Poll. All the other candidates are in single-digits. And by a margin of 37 percent to 34 percent, investors say Romney would be better for the economy than would President Barack Obama.
Among U.S. investors, Romney does much better than Obama, with 69 percent favoring him on the economy versus 16 percent for the president. Romney, who will face off against the other Republicans in an Oct. 11 Dartmouth College debate sponsored by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, is seen less favorably overseas, according to the quarterly poll, which covered 1,031 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers.
“Romney isn’t an enthusiastic choice,” says Sam Katzman, 49, chief investment officer at Constellation Wealth Advisors in New York. “But he’s better than Obama.”