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'Morning Joe' host: GOP establishment thinks Mitt Romney will lose to Obama

Mitt Romney's path to the nomination seems secure – but as conservative Joe Scarborough bluntly put it Wednesday, Republicans aren't confident about his chances in the fall.

By Correspondent / April 5, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a crowd at a campaign event in a metal working shop, in Broomall, Penn., Wednesday, April 4.

Steven Senne/AP

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On MSNBC Wednesday morning, "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough had one of those refreshingly direct moments where he cut through all the political blather with a blunt assessment of what's really going on in the presidential race. Mr. Scarborough was talking about Rick Santorum's chances of being the nominee in 2016, when panelist Mark Halperin interjected that Mitt Romney might win in the fall (thereby taking 2016 out of the equation for Republicans). At that point, Scarborough irritatedly cut him off:  

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“Nobody thinks Romney’s going to win [the general election]. Let’s just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? The Republican establishment – I have yet to meet a single person from the Republican establishment who thinks Mitt Romney’s going to win the general election this year. They won’t say it on TV, because they’ve got to go on TV, and they don’t want people writing them nasty e-mails. I obviously don’t care. But I have yet to meet anybody in the Republican establishment that worked for George W. Bush, that works in the Republican Congress, that worked for Ronald Reagan that thinks Mitt Romney’s going to win the general election.” 

This basically corresponds with Decoder's own conversations with various Republican insiders. There are many who say they think President Obama is vulnerable – but there are far fewer who, when speaking off the record, say they believe Mr. Romney is well positioned to take advantage of that vulnerability. In a word, many Republicans smell a loser.

Yes, Romney is widely seen as the most "electable" candidate among Republican primary voters, and has been throughout this campaign. In Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, 38 percent of voters said that beating Mr. Obama was their top priority, and 68 percent of those voters chose Romney. But that doesn't mean they're confident Romney will beat Obama – just that they think he has a better shot at it than the other GOP candidates on the ballot.

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