Is Mitt Romney a Loser?

The Iowa caucus for the Republican presidential primary is just over three weeks away, which means it’s crunch time for the candidates. Sadly for Mitt Romney, he’s in the fight for his political life. After facing down wave after wave of challenges from Bachmann, Perry, and Cain, Romney can’t seem to knock down Newt Gingrich — the latest polls show Gingrich up 12 points over Romney. Look at the chart above — Romney’s numbers are in purple. He’s been fairly steady in his voter base, between 20 and 25 percent, but can’t crack a quarter of the GOP voters. That’s troubling for the supposed frontrunner.

At the Republican debate on Saturday night, the former Massachusetts governor did little to improve his likeability with his proposed $10,000 bet with Rick Perry. The highlight of the night, though, was Gingrich obliterating Romney’s charges that the former House Speaker was a lifelong Washington insider: “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.” Ouch.

Romney’s loss to Kennedy was his first, but by no means his last political defeat. By my count, Romney’s gone a less-than-enviable 14-22 in his political campaigns — or, if you want to include all the races he dropped out of as losses, a downright lousy 14-41. Consider:

1994: Wins Republican Senatorial primary over John Lakian; loses to Ted Kennedy in general election. (1-1)
2002: Runs unopposed in Republican gubernatorial primary; wins general election over treasurer Shannon O’Brien. (2-0; we’ll count the unopposed race as a victory)
2006: Decides not to run for reelection as governor. (0-1)
2008: Wins 11 states in Republican presidential primary, loses another 20 to John McCain and Mike Huckabee, and drops out before the remaining 19 elections are held. (11-39)
Overall record: 14-41

That’s not too good. And if he doesn’t turn his campaign around soon, it’s only going to get worse.