Not surprising given that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a sure-to-declare for the 2012 election. Reports are now stating that Romney has seriously been building his 2012 campaign staff.
Report from Campaigns & Elections:
Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, has reportedly signed on as Team Romney’s pollster. Newhouse was named “Pollster of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants in recognition of his work on Scott Brown’s improbably successful campaign against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for the Senate seat vacated by Teddy Kennedy. The New York Times has called his firm “the leading Republican polling company” in the nation.
On the Brown campaign, Newhouse conducted daily tracking polls to identify the issues that resonated most for Massachusetts voters. One of his counterintuitive findings was that voters cared more about national security issues than the healthcare reform debate, which dominated headlines as the January 2010 special election approached. With regard to how terrorism suspects should be tried, Newhouse found that Brown’s support for military tribunals was favored 65 to 35 percent over Coakley’s support for trials in civilian courts. (C&E’s April 2010 issue featured a fascinating post-mortem of the Brown campaign by Jeremy Jacobs.)
While Newhouse is generally considered a Republican pollster, he did work for Democrat-turned-Independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman in his 2006 campaign to retain his Connecticut Senate seat against Democrat Ned Lamont.
Romney’s campaign has also reportedly retained the services of Rich Beeson, a GOP operative and partner with the voter contact firm FLS Connect, to serve as its political director. Beeson served as the political director for the RNC in 2008 and has worked on federal-level campaigns since 1989.
The question is whether Romney will announce within 2 or 3 months or maybe 6 or 8 months. I’m betting that by April to May, we will have a few earlier announcers hitting the trail already, Romney included.