Another of my periodic gut checks:
Gallup’s latest tracking poll has Romney up by 1. Rasmussen has Romney up by 3. After a 100 million dollar attack ad dump by Obama, the numbers must make Mitten’s crew pretty happy. But the scariest number for Obama is this one from USA Today:
By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.
A month of Bain attacks and Bain helps Romney. So with poll numbers like those above – Why is the election close? A few theories.
1. It may not be in reality. Barring extraordinary circumstances (A civil war for example) citizens vote based on their feelings about the economy. The numbers on the economy are good indicators on how people will swing later in the race. Obama is even with Romney now because Obama is a habit. If this dynamic does not change, the impending election will focus voters – and they’ll break for Romney.
2. Romney, with backdoor help from Obama, is seen as a solid business man. He’s not seen as a President. I suspect that’s the point of the overseas trip. Like Reagan in the summer and fall of 1980, people are not adjusted to the idea of President Romney just yet. This is keeping things close. I further suspect that the perception of a close race works for both sides for the time being. Obama can’t afford any further distress in his ranks, and Romney can’t become Thomas Dewey.
Surely Obama wanted to knock out Romney this month. He threw the kitchen sink hoping for an epic Romney mistake. The only gaffe close to an epic mistake was made by Obama. You didn’t build that has legs, and will be revisited from every angle in the Fall. The Obama rebuttal is panicked, weak and borderline pathetic. Taken in context, out of context, and with no context at all: Obama insulted people. That’s the way his remarks read and feel. Period. More than that he confirmed a thousand suspicions about him in four short words. The only way to blot the moment out is to catch Romney confirming our suspicions about him – that he might just be a wolf in nice, Mormon garb. Romney could make such a mistake.
Romney has survived and probably benefited from Obama’s barrage. (I duly admit I was wrong about this – thinking Romney would be hurt by the Bain assault in the short-term.) Without him doing much (and inadvertent help from Obama) a Romney vision for the country is emerging. The economic number above tells us that too. Romney will make the right decisions on the economy. Which is individuals saying: My life will be better if Romney wins. The question gives them the chance to voice this sentiment without turning their backs on a President they had high hopes for. Yet.
Obama’s vision for a 2nd term? Beats me.
And now the caveat. It’s not still early anymore. We are well into this game. There is, however, still plenty of time. Obama’s stunning lack of campaign imagination thus far notwithstanding he still might demonize Romney to such a degree that he’s unpalatable. And Romney may fall for it. Syria is a nightmare playing out in the middle distance. What if it erupts in October? How do the candidates react? How do we react? How long will Israel dilly dally with Iran? Will Romney choke in the debates? Doubtful, but the MSM is gunning for him.
A murder of brown swans is gathering somewhere. (Other than an alien invasion are there any real black swans left?)
Tonight my gut checks in thusly: Romney wins by 4%. The red/blue map goes back to where it was in 2004.
- Poll gives Romney lead on economy despite Obama’s Bain attacks (thehill.com)
- Americans on Bain: Meh. (washingtonpost.com)