The latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows a clear sense within the Republican primary electorate that Mitt Romney is the most electable of the four candidates vying for the GOP nomination.
73 percent of GOP voters in the CBS/New York Times poll conducted between March 7-11 said they expect Romney to eventually win the nomination
That being said, his electoral vulnerabilities are becoming increasingly clear.
While Mitt Romney remains strongest with Northern, upscale, moderate to slightly conservative voters, he has shown no ability to appeal to working class voters.
Moreover, the CBS/New York Times poll shows Santorum leading Romney by more than two to one among evangelicals and by tea party supporters by a large margin.
Romney lost evangelicals by 32 points in Georgia, 22 points in South Carolina, 19 points in Tennessee, 18 points in Michigan, 18 points in Iowa and 17 points in Ohio.
In light of these numbers, it is safe to say that the odds are most certainly not in Romney’s favor to win tomorrow’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi – where evangelicals accounted for 77 and 69 percent of voters in the 2008 GOP primaries.
Less than 30 percent are favorable to the former Massachusetts Governor, and close to 40 percent are unfavorable.
Thus, while Mr. Romney’s electability is the top reason most of his supporters give for wanting his nomination, he remains a decidedly vulnerable – if likely – nominee.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist, Fox News contributor, and author of several books including the forthcoming “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond” (Rowman and Littlefield). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.