GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign announced Wednesday that the former Massachusetts governor raised $18.25 million in the second quarter, putting him "head and shoulders" above his rivals for the Republican nomination. The next highest total belongs to Tim Pawlenty, with an "anemic" $4.2 million, followed closely by Jon Huntsman's $4.1 million. Michele Bachmann, a notoriously prodigious fundraiser, will announce her total on July 15. Romney is also looking good in the polls, with a new University of New Hampshire survey showing him with 35 percent support among GOP voters in the critical Granite State primary, more than 20 points ahead of second-place Bachmann. Can Romney be beat?
Romney is the Republican to beat: "Rhetorically, Romney seems to already by geared up for the general election," says Tina Korbe at Hot Air. His impressive fundraising totals are even more notable when you take into account that the wealthy Romney hasn't contributed any of his own money to his campaign yet. This gives Romney, who has "hammered away at Obama's failed economic policies," room to remain on message without having to sweat too much over money.
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He's way out front, but Bachmann's gaining: Romney certainly holds a "commanding lead," says Scott Clement at The Washington Post. But following her well-reviewed debate performance, Bachmann has won over many GOP voters. Her favorability numbers have doubled in New Hampshire, and, "even more impressive," she's the rare candidate whose unfavorable ratings have dipped as she's become more well-known. Plus, only a quarter of Romney's Granite State supporters say they'll "definitely" vote for him. Clearly "there’s room for other candidates to make a play for current Romney supporters."
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Romney is more vulnerable than he appears: Romney remains "extremely beatable," says Alexander Burns at Politico. Not only is $18.25 million less than what he raised in his first real quarter during his failed 2008 run, but it's half of George W. Bush's 1999 first quarter total, and far short of Romney's own $50 million goal. His polling, though strong, has also stalled, which is "troubling" considering he's faced "virtually no attacks from his opponents." Plus, his continued "awkwardness and tone-deafness" remains a concern. "Romney is living on the edge."
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