In the last five presidential elections, Republican candidates have received an average of 64 percent of their electoral votes from the South. In 2000, George W. Bush became the first Republican to win the presidency while losing the electoral and popular votes outside the South. The party's Southern cast was one reason John McCain in 2008 did not carry any suburb contiguous to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit or Chicago.
Such places are habitats of persons who by now may be lightly attached Obama voters — people who like the idea of him but not the results of him. As Holman W. Jenkins of The Wall Street Journal astutely writes, "Obama's great political talent has been his knack for granting his admirers permission to think highly of themselves for thinking highly of him." Romney's great political challenge is to wean them away by making them faintly embarrassed about their former infatuation.
George Will is a Washington Post columnist. Email him at email@example.com.