(CBS News) Mitt Romney's deficit in three key battleground states in the latest CBS News poll is "a real concern" for the presidential candidate, according to Republican strategist Mark McKinnon. He said Romney needs to do a lot of work to appeal to women and families over the next three months.
"The problem is, there's some real primary bruises," McKinnon said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." "Romney is suffering from a lot of discussion about defunding planned parenthood and contraception."
Republicans "have a real brand problem" because voters see them as "not caring about their interests," McKinnon said. He added, though, that Romney has an opportunity to change that perception but he must show that he is a leader.
"What Romney has to do is lead the Republican Party instead of being dragged by the Republican Brand," McKinnon said.
The Republican strategist said he thinks Romney's choice of a female running-mate might help him among woman voters, but he noted that the possibilities - New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - either lack experience or hold social positions that diverge from the base.
"I think it's unlikely Romney would pick a woman," McKinnon said.
There is some good news in the polls released Wednesday, McKinnon said, showing that one-quarter of voters don't know much about the former Massachusetts governor.
"He's got an opportunity at the convention to talk about his biography, to talk about his vision," he said. "[Voters] just haven't heard the story yet so he's got upside potential to get a lot of those voters back."