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Mitt Romney Scoring Better Than John McCain In 2008

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Thus far the performance of candidate Mitt Romney this year is surpassing that of Sen. John McCain in 2008. | AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For all the twists and turns that have marked the Republican primary to date, there is one bit of conventional wisdom that still seems to have survived largely intact: Mitt Romney is distinctively well positioned to be the nominee.

This has little to do with the former Massachusetts governor's capacity as a candidate. He has proved as gaffe prone and emotionally impregnable as his critics claimed he would be. Those problems, in turn, have allowed a motley crew of other candidates to chip away at his supposed inevitability and to score some unexpected victories.

But even as Romney has demonstrated his fair share of failings, the underlying political landscape has remained the same. Economic concerns still dominate the conversation. And on that front, Romney's aides are most comfortable waging an election.

"Gov. Romney from Day 1 in this race has said he is uniquely positioned to deal with the major issues facing the country ... which is the economy," his spokesman Ryan Williams told the Huffington Post. "He is a private-sector businessman, someone who has credibility on the economy, having worked in it. And it is the central theme of his campaign."

As voters go to the polls in 10 states on Tuesday, it's worth considering how Romney has performed thus far. There have been 12 states that have voted to date, and in six of those contests Romney has failed to match the percentage of the vote that he won as a presidential candidate in 2008.

But in eight of those states, the percentage of the vote that Romney won in 2012 is more than the percentage of the vote that Sen. John McCain won in 2008. The sequence of the states' contest isn't the same nor is the way that the delegates will be awarded. It's worth noting, too, that McCain had a tougher group of competitors and far less campaign resources than Romney. But he also was distrusted by the Republican Party's base. And his path to the nomination was as uncertain as Romney's current effort.

Iowa
Romney 2012 -- 24.5 percent
Romney 2008 -- 25.2 percent
McCain 2008 –- 13.1 percent

New Hampshire
Romney 2012 -- 39.3 percent
Romney 2008 -- 31.6 percent
McCain 2008 –- 37.1 percent

South Carolina
Romney 2012 -- 27.8 percent
Romney 2008 –- 15.1 percent
McCain 2008 -- 33.2 percent

Florida
Romney 2012 -- 46.4 percent
Romney 2008 -- 31 percent
McCain 2008 -- 36 percent

Nevada
Romney 2012 -- 50.1 percent
Romney 2008 -- 51.1 percent
McCain 2008 –- 12.7 percent

Colorado
Romney 2012 -- 34.9 percent
Romney 2008 –- 60.1 percent
McCain 2008 –- 18.4 percent

Minnesota
Romney 2012 -- 16.9 percent
Romney 2008 –- 41.4 percent
McCain 2008 -- 22 percent

Maine
Romney 2012 -- 38 percent (not final)
Romney 2008 -- 51.9 percent
McCain 2008 -- 21.1 percent

Arizona
Romney 2012 –- 47.3 percent
Romney 2008 -- 34.5 percent
McCain 2008 -- 47.2 percent

Michigan
Romney 2012 -- 41.1 percent
Romney 2008 -- 38.9 percent
McCain 2008 -- 29.7 percent

Washington (caucus)
Romney 2012 -- 37.6 percent
Romney 2008 -- 16.3 percent
McCain 2008 -- 49.5 percent

Missouri (primary)
Romney 2012 -- 25.3 percent
Romney 2008 -- 29.3 percent
McCain 2008 -- 33 percent

* 2012 data was compiled from Google results. The 2008 data was taken from The New York Times data.

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