Reiterating some facts about the upcoming presidential election

BY CONNOR BURNS ’13
Senior Staff Writer

The election is close. Gallup is calling the race ahead for Romney by a wide margin, though Romney’s surplus owes exclusively to massive support in the South. Other national polls instead call the race a dead heat (For more on this discrepancy, take a look at Nate Silver’s 538 blog). The state polls have tightened, but Ohio, a critical battleground state, has stayed doggedly in Obama’s column for almost the entirety of the race.

At the same time the Romney campaign is reportedly withdrawing from Virginia because its internal polling puts it far enough ahead it can invest its resources elsewhere. Florida has been under the Romney column since the first debate.

It’s no secret the vice presidential debate and the second presidential debate were boons to a wounded Obama campaign. Romney made several gaffes at the last debate, but his most damning one is easily “Binders full of women.” As a male, I was perplexed that he made such a big deal out of putting all that effort into finding a qualified female candidate for his administration as governor — as though finding competent women to run the government were a challenge or a chore.

On a question about gender inequality, Romney again confused personal allegory with a declaration of policy. In any event, the comment has blown up as an internet meme, lighting up Facebook and other social media sources much to the Romney campaign’s chagrin.

Similarly, Romney completely misstepped on the Benghazi issue, a question Romney should have been able to slam Obama on. The debate clearly saw Obama improve in terms of performance over the first one, but whether that will translate to gains in the polls remains to be seen.

The Romney campaign’s playbook of talking about the failing economy has stalled as the economy has continued to show signs of improvement. The positive jobs report and housing market continue to show signs of improvement for the economy overall.

This has forced the Romney campaign to pivot slightly away from what should be their bread and butter issue — jobs. Because many people still blame George W. Bush for the failed economy, Obama is given an enormous amount of slack, especially because the economy steadily shows signs of improvement. Unemployment is the lowest it has been since Obama’s inauguration.

Romney will have a tough time running on the economy exclusively, but at the same time he cannot run on social issues (he has bizarrely tried to brand the outlawing of abortion as a moderate position).

Where does Romney go from here? The election is close, and it may stay that way, but Obama has a good road map of what to do next. I’m not sure the Romney campaign knows where to go from here.

I maintain Obama will win and continue to worry what kind of champagne to get for the Nov 6. I project national polls will indicate a two-point bounce for Obama after his excellent debate performance on Thursday. I also think the Romney campaign’s message has been hitting some major walls — Obama looks so strong on foreign policy in general, attacking him on the deaths of four diplomats looks both petty and curious.

The last presidential debate, in Boca Raton, Florida, purportedly deals exclusively with foreign policy and will likely be done by the time you finish reading this article. Check the echo chambers, but I believe they already whisper of an Obama victory.

Questions? Email Connor at cburns@fandm.edu.

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