Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Game, set, match?

By Richard K. Barry

Charlie Cook is one of those well respected voices in the business of political prognostication. He doesn't speak as a partisan. He speaks as someone who is most interested in getting things right.

Here's a rather stark comment by Cook appearing in a National Journal story yesterday:

Leading Democratic and Republican pollsters and strategists privately say that the Obama lead is around 4 or 5 points and is neither widening nor narrowing. The convention bounces have dissipated, but Romney's negatives remain quite high and are not diminishing. In the Gallup three-week super-samples -- almost 10,000 interviews -- the percentage of Democrats saying that they will definitely vote has moved up to the point that it is now virtually tied with Republicans.

A lot of people, me among them, thought the race would remain tight until election day, well within the margin of error with all of us biting our nails waiting for John King to move his silly electoral map around on the big day to tell us what's going on. But it doesn't look like that's happening, at least not at the moment.

With all the caveats, with all the "this thing could change" disclaimers, the race has broken in Obama's favour and it's hard to see how Romney can change that. There has never really been any dynamism in his campaign. One could say that it's always possible he reaches down deep and pulls something out, but what would that something be?

As simple as this sounds, the fact that Romney is not likeable and is perceived by much of the electorate as unlikable has been his achilles heal. We're only human beings. We don't choose to be around people we don't like. We certainly don't choose to have them lead us.

Funny thing is that Romney was right about one thing. This race has always been about the economy. It's been about people understanding that they are living through difficult times. They want someone they like and trust to be in White House, and Mitt Romney doesn't fit that description.

The only potentially redefining moments remaining are the debates. Is it possible that Mitt Romney will present himself to the American public in new way, in a way that changes how they feel about him? Unlikely.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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