Earlier today, I spoke with several Romney advisers. They continue to shrug off the put-downs from critics who are calling for a shake-up. For example, they see Peggy Noonan’s column, which calls for Romney to bring in a Republican grandee as campaign manager, as mistaken…
They’re tired of hearing about how things are disastrous, and they’re tired of hearing that Romney is stumbling and losing a winnable election. There is an ominous consensus among many advisers that between now and the election, they’ll never win great coverage, so it’s more important for Romney to spend time preparing for the debates, cutting ads, and holding rallies — not currying favor with pundits.
Regarding the polls, Romney’s aides know that they are lagging behind in a handful of swing states. More than a few of them are especially concerned about Ohio, where Romney has struggled in the polls all year. But they point to Gallup’s national tracking poll, which shows the race tied, as evidence that things are fine, for the most part. They think the president is on the ropes since he’s not above 50 percent. “Voters are focused on different issues than the media,” a second adviser says.
Romney has high hurdles ahead of him. But his cause is not lost. Here are five ways he can still win. Some combination of the following events and contingencies will have to intrude upon the race for him to do so, but a Romney/Ryan administration remains within the realm of possibility. Keep in mind: There will be natural tightening (as opposed to the political Botox kind) between now and election day.
1. Romney has a stellar first debate, which galvanizes his campaign and allows late-breaking independents to finally see the man that Ann Romney so loves dearly. Likelihood: 60 percent. Every Romney route to victory has to include a great first debate, because the first debates tend to matter the most, and because Romney will have a relatively unfiltered opportunity to try to make his case, probably his last. Debate 1 is about domestic policy, and the economy is lackluster. If ever there was a time to step up and force Barack Obama to explain to the American people just what he would do to create jobs — if ever there was an opportunity to refocus the campaign back onto the jobs issue — it’s on October 3 at the University of Denver. No doubt Romney will be prepared. Jim Lehrer, the moderator, is not going to throw anything Romney’s way that he hasn’t already anticipated.
Through 2004 every incumbent who was above 50 percent at this point won, and every incumbent who was under 50 percent at this point lost. As of today, Obama is under 50 percent.
Additionally, most incumbents end up winning by a smaller margin (or losing by a larger one) than they are sporting in the Gallup poll at this point. The exceptions are Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Gerald Ford in 1976 (who closed his rather large gap with Carter down to virtually nothing by Election Day), and George H.W. Bush in 1992 (whose position at this point was skewed by the temporary exit of Perot from the campaign). On average, the margin moves by 3.7 percent in favor of the challenger between the mid-September Gallup registered voter poll and the Election Day results…
The bottom line: Historically speaking, this president is in weaker shape than any postwar incumbent who went on to victory, with the possible exception of Harry Truman; he is enjoying a convention bounce later in the cycle than any incumbent in the postwar era; and if he manages to win, it will probably be via a true squeaker, with plenty of twists and turns to come.
Almost all of the published polls show Obama getting less than 50% of the vote and less than 50% job approval. A majority of the voters either support Romney or are undecided in almost every poll.
But the fact is that the undecided vote always goes against the incumbent. In 1980 (the last time an incumbent Democrat was beaten), for example, the Gallup Poll of October 27th had Carter ahead by 45-39. Their survey on November 2nd showed Reagan catching up and leading by three points. In the actual voting, the Republican won by nine. The undecided vote broke sharply — and unanimously — for the challenger.
An undecided voter has really decided not to back the incumbent. He just won’t focus on the race until later in the game.
So, when the published poll shows Obama ahead by, say, 48-45, he’s really probably losing by 52-48!
“The swing state poll shows the president in desperate shape in territory he carried with ease in 2008,” Rove said told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Wednesday evening, referring to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll showing Obama up by 48 percent to 46 percent over Romney…
“So Mitt Romney is already running ahead of the pace of John McCain. And President Obama is running . . . over six points behind where he did in these states in 2008,” Rove told Cavuto.
“It’s amazing to me,” Rove said, adding that he would be worried “if I were in the White House and looking at this.”
I reached out to Republican pollster John McLaughlin for yesterday’s piece on how undecided voters are likely to break, and he made some separate comments about polls, their impact on motivation for each side, and how the campaigns want to use skewed poll numbers to depress the opposition…
What Obama and his allies are doing now: “The Democrats want to convince [these anti-Obama voters] falsely that Romney will lose to discourage them from voting. So they lobby the pollsters to weight their surveys to emulate the 2008 Democrat-heavy models. They are lobbying them now to affect early voting. IVR [Interactive Voice Response] polls are heavily weighted. You can weight to whatever result you want. Some polls have included sizable segments of voters who say they are ‘not enthusiastic’ to vote or non-voters to dilute Republicans. Major pollsters have samples with Republican affiliation in the 20 to 30 percent range, at such low levels not seen since the 1960s in states like Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and which then place Obama ahead. The intended effect is to suppress Republican turnout through media polling bias. We’ll see a lot more of this. Then there’s the debate between calling off a random-digit dial of phone exchanges vs. a known sample of actual registered voters. Most polls favoring Obama are random and not off the actual voter list. That’s too expensive” for some pollsters.
“With so much at stake in this election, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should ‘go rogue’ and not hold back from telling the American people the true state of our economy and national security,” says Palin. “They need to continue to find ways to break through the filter of the liberal media to communicate their message of reform.”
Palin also suggests that Romney and Ryan can be responsible for an epiphany on this country’s fiscal standing. “America desperately needs to have a ‘come to Jesus’ moment in discussing our big dysfunctional, disconnected, and debt-ridden federal government,” says Palin…
“At the founding of our country, a great American patriot wrote, ‘If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace,'” says Palin. “Obama’s motto seems to be, ‘Let the good times roll in my day. The kids can deal with the catastrophic bankruptcy in theirs.’ That’s no way for the leader of a great nation to behave, and I hope Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney continue to call him out on it. Generations of American children are counting on them.”
Via the Daily Caller.
Via the Daily Rushbo.