"Moderate" may be a four-letter word in most Republican circles, but not in New England.
Mitt Romney cruised to victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, riding a wave of support from mainstream Yankee Republicans -- fiscally conservative, socially moderate and politically pragmatic. The former Massachusetts governor swept nearly every group of voters, whether categorized by income, ideology or religion. The former venture capitalist's support rose steadily according to voters' incomes. He did best among those making more than $200,000 annually, says CNN.
"We know that the future of this country is better than 8 percent or 9 percent unemployment. It is better than $15 trillion in debt. It is better than the misguided policies and broken promises of the last three years - and the failed leadership of one man," Romney said. But he also called the increasingly fractured Republican field "desperate" and said the attacks his rivals have leveled on his business record are similar to Democratic criticisms, informs Washington Post.
To be sure, his appeal to independents goes only so far in a Republican primary, where the party's conservative base holds greatest sway. The ability to attract a broader support base would be an asset in a general election.While only 4 percent of Democrats participated in last night's Republican primary, Huntsman won 41 percent of them, the exit polling showed. He won a quarter of those identifying themselves as moderate or liberal."I just really hope people will be able to see he is a sincere candidate and he has the international experience people are looking for," said Laura Scafati, a 23-year-old accountant, who supported Obama in 2008 and backed Huntsman in New Hampshire, according to BusinessWeek.
Some Republicans say the intensified debate could help Romney, now and later. "It's going to validate the business experience, and to the extent it keeps the economy and job creation at the forefront, it helps us," says Tom Rath, a veteran New Hampshire GOP strategist affiliated with Romney. Steve Duprey, the Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire adds, "You might as well get bloodied and battle-tested early.",reports USA TODAY.