Peter Hart

Focus group sheds light on Mitt Romney's struggles

Seated around a conference table in a nondescript suburban Virginia office building, a dozen Republican voters shed light on one of the continued mysteries of this election season: What ails Mitt Romney?

Veteran pollster Peter Hart asked an assistant to tack up photos of the Republican presidential hopefuls on the wall. If this person were not a politician, what profession would he or she be in, he asked the group, pointing to each candidate in turn.

Romney's picture evoked some positive connections -- "minister," said one participant. "Businessman," offered another. But most answers carried a derisive sting: "TV pitchman," "actor,"...

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