FINE ELECTION ANALYSIS – AT 11:12 A.M. ET: There is actually a group of election analysts in journalism who knows what it's talking about. The group is led by Michael Barone and includes Fox News analyst Chris Stirewalt. Here, Stirewalt gives us a quote of the day, about the current state of the race, and its prospects:
What the conventional wisdom misses is that while the pool of self-described “undecided” voters may be small, the pool of persuadable voters remains very large. And with an incumbent president, people are less likely to start paying close attention early. The Republican primary contest offered sparks of interest but wrapped up more quickly and conclusively than many expected.
The two weeks of political infomercials that took place in Charlotte and Tampa were the cue to voters to start paying attention. The next big moment, the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, will be the time that the game can really change.
While the similarities with 2004 are notable, Obama’s position is appreciably worse than Bush’s. He has lower job-approval ratings, the nation is more pessimistic and the character attacks are proving less effective than those launched by Bush-backers against Kerry.
It’s the last one that’s most important. Romney has so far survived, and while hardly beloved by the electorate, forced Democrats in Charlotte to concede that he was a “good man” and shift their attacks more to policy and away from the personal.
The under-funded Obama political action committee and others will continue to call him a cancer-callous vampire, the Obama campaign has shifted its attack to the thornier issues of tax rates, Medicare and other points where Republicans can offer easier rebuttals. The cost to Obama’s reputation of being the antagonist in such searingly personal attacks was too great.
With all signs showing that Obama will face deep disapproval of his handling on the economy on Election Day, any bounce that comes out of the convention seems unlikely to last even until the two men first face off in Denver.
The state of the race is this: Romney has lived long enough to get into the final quarter with the frontrunner in reach. He may win by 6 points or lose by 10, but don’t be deceived into believing this is a replay of 2004.
COMMENT: Interesting and informed analysis. Others will disagree, but Stirewalt presents a potentially realistic picture of the race – assuming Romney/Ryan gets going and starts hitting hard. Romney must finally understand that he's up against Chicago politicians who will say and do anything to get re-elected.
This will be very messy.
September 10, 2012