This statement from Walter Peterson, a former New Hampshire governor and lifelong Republican, sums up a lot:
"What the people want is basically to feel like the candidates of a political party are working for the people, not just following some niche issues. The old traditional Republican Party was conservative on small government, efficient government; believed in supporting people to give them a chance at life but not having people on the dole; wanted a balanced budget; and on social issues they were moderate, tolerant, live and let live. They didn’t dislike somebody from other religious viewpoints. That was the old-fashioned conservative, but the word conservative today has been bastardized."
And, yes, New England Republicans ignored Mitt Romney’s faith and focused on the real issues. The question is whether the new, evangelical Republican base can do the same.