The second time has not always been the charm for Mitt Romney this year: Despite winning Nevada’s caucuses handily on Saturday, the former Massachusetts governor actually won fewer voters there than he did in 2008.
The final results showed a 26 percent drop in voter turnout overall — from more than 44,000 people down to 32,891 — and Mr. Romney’s vote dropped from 22,646 last time to just 16,486 this time.
And it’s not just a proportional drop. Mr. Romney actually won a lower percentage of the vote this time around, falling from 51.1 percent in 2008 to 50.1. It’s not a big drop, but it does raise questions about his ability to keep those voters who backed him four years ago.
The same thing happened in Iowa, where both his vote tally and his percentage of the total vote slipped compared to 2008.
In Florida, South Carolina and New Hampshire he did substantially better, raising his share of the vote by 8 percentage points in New Hampshire and by more than 15 percentage points in Florida.
Some analysts have said Mr. Romney’s slide between 2008 and 2012 is due to the different field of opponents. In 2008 Mr. Romney was considered the conservative alternative to Sen. John McCain, while in 2012 he is in Mr. McCain’s shoes and the other candidates argue they are the conservative alternative to him.