Will Romney run in 2016?

By Zachary Toillion

Since the 2012 election, former Republican nominee Mitt Romney has maintained a political voice, and remains politically active despite holding no public office. In 2014, Romney has traveled the country stumping for Republican candidates, including important primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. This has lead many to speculate whether Romney intends to launch a third White House bid.

In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney garnered 47.2 percent of the national vote, a mere 2.8 percent from a national majority. In the electoral college, Obama bested Romney by less than 5 percent in a number of key states. Obama won Florida by less than 0.9 percent, Ohio by 3 percent and Virginia by 3.9 percent.

Romney has shown signs of improvement with each successive presidential run. In 2008, Romney garnered only 23 percent of the vote during the Republican primaries. In 2012, his share of the primary vote more than doubled to 52.3 percent. Financially, Romney also showed substantial improvement in fundraising. Romney raised a total 90 million in 2008 during his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination and received 280 million in 2012 through the General Election.

Romney is well positioned in the early presidential primaries. He placed second in Iowa twice. In New Hampshire, he came in second in 2008 and later won the primary in 2012. In 2008, he placed 4th in South Carolina and second in 2012.

Recent polling shows Mitt Romney’s political image has been partially rehabilitated. A recent CNN poll showed Americans would now prefer Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by a 7 point margin. A poll from ABC in November of 2013 showed Romney beating Obama by a 4 point margin. Not all polling is positive for Romney, as he trails Hillary Clinton by a margin of 13 percent in a hypothetical matchup.

A third presidential run is not unprecedented. Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), for example, ran for president in 1988, 2008, and 2012. Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) ran in 1980, 1988 and 1996. Vice President Joe Biden ran in 1988, 2008 and is currently weighing a 2016 run.

Other presidential candidates have also received their party’s nomination twice in a row as a non-incumbent. Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson (D-Ill.) in both the 1952 and 1956 elections. Republicans nominated Richard Nixon (R-Calif.) in 1960 and then later in 1968. Romney’s main problem, however, lies in the fact that none of these candidates were ultimately successful.

At least one House Republican has expressed support for a third Romney run. In July Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah.) stated, “I think he actually is going to run for president. He probably doesn’t want me to say that, a hundred times he say’s he’s not, but Mitt Romney has always accomplished what he’s sat out to do.”

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