Memo from Romney campaign pollster: Mellow out about the bad polls lately

posted at 4:44 pm on September 10, 2012 by Allahpundit

Erick Erickson’s exactly right about this. Two simple points. One: Needless to say, the race isn’t over. O got his bounce — he’s up to 50 percent and a five-point lead today in Rasmussen — but it’ll fade. In fact, it looks like he’s already leveling off in Gallup’s tracker, with his job approval now down two points from its peak of 52 percent four days ago. Things will tighten up. Even your friendly neighborhood eeyorepundit thinks so.

Two: For the moment, though, Romney’s behind. Cue the pep talk from Romney pollster Neil Newhouse:

Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling. While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly. The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama Presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race…

All Signs Point to a Tight Race: Those watching the daily tracking polls know that, while the President has seen a bounce from his convention, his approval has already begun to slip, indicating it is likely to recede further. In eight states,’s reporting of the most recent statewide polls puts the margin between the two candidates at less than three points, virtually guaranteeing a tight race.Next, the battlefield has actually expanded, not contracted. Note that Wisconsin is now in play and our campaign is now up with ads in that state, while the latest poll numbers from the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico show the race closing there. And this tightening is not an anomaly. Consider the traditional Democratic strongholds of New Jersey and Connecticut, won by President Obama in 2008 by margins of 15 points and 22 points, respectively. In both states,’s reporting of the most recent statewide polls puts Obama’s lead at only seven points in each of these states.

Follow the link for the familiar litany of why-Romney-will-win arguments: Huge fundraising, higher Republican enthusiasm, the pitiful Obama economy, the 1980-ish late break among undecideds after the debate. A “top Romney advisor” is putting on a brave face for Rich Lowry too:

It’s horses**t. Nobody in Boston thinks we’re going to lose. We’re in a tight race. We had a 4-5 point bounce after our convention and it evaporated when they had theirs. Now they have a 4-5 bounce. It’s going to evaporate in September. We feel good about the map. We’re up with advertising in Wisconsin and I think North Carolina is going to come off the board. On Ohio, they’ve been spinning for months now that it’s out of reach…

I actually think the other side is in a panic. You look at New Mexico closing up. And they’re not above 50 in any of their target states. Look, we’re raising money, they’re raising money, and it’s tight. This is a dogfight. But the numbers actually point to a romney win barring something unforeseen.

My chief worry here is that Romney’s still betting big that despair over Obamanomics will drive undecideds towards him at the last minute, with the October and November jobs reports potential gamechangers if they’re especially dismal. Could be, but it also could be that the worse the economy looks, paradoxically the more Obama is inoculated from public opinion on it. I remember writing last year that voters could end up being convinced that the financial crisis and its fallout were so horrendous that realistically no one could have brought the country back in four years, even though the whole point of Obama’s 2008 campaign was that he was a messianic figure capable of unprecedented achievements. That was, in fact, the crux of Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention — that the Great Recession was just a bit more unprecedented and impressive than the Unicorn Prince was, so we need to give him more time to repair it. If that’s what undecideds are thinking, then two more terrible jobs reports might not shake loose the votes Romney needs to put him over the top. On the contrary, they could reinforce the impression that while O deserves some blame for the state of the economy, this mess has been so awful and protracted that it’s beyond any one would-be demigod’s power to fix.

And yes, needless to say, it is troubling that a president might be excused for a disastrous record partly because it’s disastrous, but that’s Hopenchange for you. Some swing voters foolishly believed the myth four years ago and a critical chunk of them will be reluctant to admit that they were suckered. (That’s why Romney’s been careful to frame his attacks on O as disappointment, not anger: As an advisor told Byron York recently, they don’t want to be seen as rubbing disillusioned Obama voters’ faces in their mistake.) They’re looking for reasons to think they made a good decision in voting for him the first time, and “no one could have fixed this economy” fits the bill nicely. None of which is to say that Romney can’t win anyway; there are lots and lots and lots of Republican attack ads to come. It’s simply to say that the biggest weapon in his campaign arsenal might not be as big as we think, which might help answer Powerline’s question of why this election, which should be a cakewalk, is so close. If even perennial Democratic doomsayer Doug Schoen is now writing posts like this, a bit of eeyorism may be in order.

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while the two words might be used interchangably by some and might seem similarin meaning, they are actually quite distinct….

jimver on September 10, 2012 at 6:53 PM

a few posts back i already posted that xenophobia is an official synonym of racism. anyway, dark star’s initial sentence was:

Oh, and btw, birther stuff isn’t racist — it’s ethnocentric and/or xenophobic.

WFT? I think that dark star just admitted that he is ethnocentric and/or a xenophobe if he is a birther, and that is bad enough! and in a twisted way, he is confirming that indeed birtherism is ethnocentric and/or xenophobic.

nathor on September 10, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Nonsense, ethnocentrism is actually the mildest of the three (xenophobia and racism) and it’s not even close in meaning to the other two… Heck, most people living in countries with ethnically homogeneous populations are quite ethnocentric, duh..the sky is blue….and guess what, believe it or not, america is the melting pot experiment and the exception in that, contrary to what you might think most other countries are quite homogeneous ethnicity wise, and therefore ethnocentric…america has become quite americanocentric lately though :)….

jimver on September 10, 2012 at 7:04 PM

ethnocentric might be more excusable in countries with homogeneous ethnicity, but in a melting pot country like the US (that virtually contains members of all ethnicities in the world)it amounts to racism. and this “americanocentric ” is BS! almost no one sees himself as of american ethnicity.

nathor on September 10, 2012 at 7:20 PM

There is one reason and one reason alone why this race is currently close: celebrity. michelles arms.

Nothing else makes sense.

Red Cloud on September 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Truth is, Mooch’s arms are as flabby as these polls. The ‘toned arms’ bullcrap is an invention from the fashionista elite desperate for something good to say about her.

slickwillie2001 on September 10, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I agree with this. It is good to not worry about polls.

astonerii on September 10, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Team Romney needs to spend money where it will force the Dems to counter by spending resources they can not afford or nor anticipated using. Time is of the essence.

diogenes on September 10, 2012 at 8:41 PM

I sense from people the malaise and hopelessness of the Jimmy Carter era. The problem is that we needed the inspiration of Reagan, instead our party nominated Romney (yawn). My state starts early voting next week and as I am going to be out of the country during the election I will go and cast my vote for Romney. However, if I am not inspired by the person I am voting for then how can I expect anyone else to be? In fairness, I am do see a little of that in Paul Ryan but the media never covers any of his speeches. All we see around here are Obama sound bites every time the TV news is on.

strangenewworld on September 10, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Memo back to Romney campaign pollster: Knock-off the circle-jerk and start kicking Obama’s ass; no more “he’s a nice but incompetent/misguided guy” bull squeeze, m’kay?

Midas on September 10, 2012 at 9:25 PM

strangenewworld on September 10, 2012 at 9:13 PM

because it’s not about Romney. it’s about defeating obama.

gracie on September 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM

because it’s not about Romney. it’s about defeating obama.

gracie on September 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM

You got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

astonerii on September 11, 2012 at 12:46 AM

If New Mexico is safe for Obama – and every single forecaster has it so, and has all along – then why would he suddenly double the number of campaign offices there, and send more paid staff? Especially since he has money trouble with his high burn rate and lower cash on hand.

So we assume Obama knows something CNN does not, for there is no earthly reason to spend money in a safe state, especially on more static expenses instead of just advertising.

And if Obama’s big bounce hasn’t helped in a solid state, how do you suppose it is doing nationally?

Adjoran on September 11, 2012 at 1:35 AM

Rush: “What’s changed since 2010? [When we had sweeping R victories.] Everything has gotten worse!”
Not really. Unemployment was 10.3%. Now it’s 8.1%.
Outrage about Obamacare, though still acute, has faded somewhat. And back then we were in the middle of the furor over the Ground Zero Mosque which O favored. Close to 70% of voters agreed with us, yet a parade of Dems said that the mosque was the right thing to do.

What does Romney need to do now? Mellow out, no, because as nearly everyone says: he’s got to change what he’s been doing. To counter a hazy feeling that Mitt imparts, this election must be a choice, a sharp one… between the left and the right. Over O’s term the voters have become increasingly more conservative. Capitalize on this!

The speeches by Ann R & Mitt showed the problem in trying to rely on character to make this sale. Get ISSUES to rise again to the fore… get a vigorous debate going between the left and the right, so, frankly, Mitt’s irritating aspect, and the notion that he’s an opportunist that won’t take stands, is eclipsed in importance by these issues.

No more “I will provide 200,000 more jobs for Colorado” type pablum commercials with the soft background music. Romney must jar the voter, loud dissonant music, and stir fear of disaster. Brainstorm some ideas that will take this fear-raising dissonant approach.

anotherJoe on September 11, 2012 at 3:45 AM

The recent ads that went up in each state are crap and a waste of $5M.

The previous ad using Obama in his own words is very effective.

Also, Luntz scored previous Ryan congressional ads as very effective. Why is Romney not using Ryan in the same way?

And why has Romney not released his 2011 tax records yet? Something tells me we’re going to get killed at the last minute by a game changer of our own doing.

Obama is now killing Romney on his refusal to name specifics in his tax plans. They are getting beat up just as much for ‘hiding’ information as they would if they were to go forward with their plans.

Note to the Romney campaign: Stand up and lay everything on the table. TRUST the people to decide. We WILL reward that behavior. At a minimum you’ll be defending ‘something’ instead of defending ‘nothing’.

Carnac on September 11, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Republicans are pansies and don’t know how to fight. If they want to stop the panic then start winning. If they lose this one they can turn in their elephant because their Party will be history.

rplat on September 11, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Republicans are pansies and don’t know how to fight. If they want to stop the panic then start winning. If they lose this one they can turn in their elephant because their Party will be history.

rplat on September 11, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Start winning what, the elections are on nov 6, genius….till then, it’s anynbody’s guess….the pathetic whining and panic on our side, caused by a few silly polls, are so strident that can be easily mistaken for hysteria…

jimver on September 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Obama is up by 5 in a PPP survey in Ohio. But I read that the poll’s D/R/I was +4 for Democrats and +9 for women. Women make up about 51 percent of Ohio voters, not 59! The only reason to oversample women is to intentionally give the edge to Obama in the results. Obama needs that much fudging in the poll to get a +5 result? My guess is that Romney is very close in Ohio and may win it. Obama would not be campaigning so much in Ohio, Iowa, and Florida if he had +5 leads.

I don’t believe PPP. I’m not sure I believe any of the polls. I put my faith in the Chick-fil-A customers!

Colony14 on September 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM

We will have a recession in 2012-2013 for a variety of reasons (mostly Ben Bernanke, Obama, and Europe). If Romney wins, the electorate will blame the GOP, the Dems will win back the House in the 2014 mid-terms, and Hillary-Manchin (or Hillary-Cuomo) will crucify the GOP in 2016. I’d rather see a Romney win, but if he loses the voters will then crucify the Dems in both 2014 and 2016.

Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you realize which way is up. Shove a little more socialism down the throats of the voters so they can get a better taste of it.

Colony14 on September 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM