Newt Gingrich’s annihilation of Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary served to highlight the Republican front runner’s biggest weakness – he finds it difficult to empathise with blue collar voters. His campaign was found out in a state where unemployment is a major issue and where the blue collar vote is crucial.
Mitt Romney’s problem isn’t dissimilar to the bind faced by Conservatives in the UK. Despite having almost perfect electoral conditions at the last election, the Tories remained handicapped by their “party of the rich” label and failed to make a sufficient breakthrough amongst the skilled working class, who hold the key to British elections.
In an electoral environment dominated by job insecurity and a rising cost of living, politicians such as Romney and Cameron have to be able to empathise with blue collar voters if they’re to achieve electoral success.