Excerpts from a piece by CHARLIE COOK
"The winner of the independent vote doesn't necessarily win the general election. But a candidate has to be very competitive among independents to have a chance to win. In 2008, the GOP's John McCain lost the independent vote by 8 percentage points and the election by 7 points. Republicans should be concerned that Mitt Romney's numbers among independents have been tanking in recent weeks."
"He went from double-digit leads over Obama in some polls, including one by the Pew Research Center, to a 9-point deficit. He is considered the "most electable" Republican. If other GOP contenders have equally dismal or worse approval numbers among independents, you have to wonder whether this could end up as a choice election, with Republicans coming out on the losing end.It is becoming quite clear that the conservative base of the Republican Party is driving the car. These voters prefer someone from the pull-no-punches brand of conservatism that created the Tea Party movement in 2009 and handed Republicans their House majority in 2010. It's certainly the GOP's right and choice to do that. The calendar, though, says 2012. The mood of the broader electorate -- and, specifically, independents -- appears to be very different. If you see any of Obama's advisers looking bruised from head to toe, it might be from pinching themselves in disbelief."
"Simply put, the passion and energy of the Republican Party today may well fail to produce a nominee with a decent chance of winning in November. My assumption was that Romney would be the nominee and would make a good run. Now, I have begun to doubt both propositions. His odds of winning the nomination are growing longer. And even if he does, he has twisted and turned himself into a human pretzel. I'm not sure how electable he is. The alternatives, however, seem even less so."
[READ full article in The Atlantic]