Mitt Romney's Key To Victory: Defining Himself Before Obama Can

David Brooks of The New York Times says President Obama "should be getting crushed right now" in presidential election polls. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein says the current read—that the election is about as close as it can get right now—is entirely to be expected.

Who is right? Both, in part.

Brooks reasons that, with the economy in the tank, three fourths of Americans dissatisfied with the direction of the country and key economic indicators refusing to move in the president's direction, support should be pouring into Republican challenger Mitt Romney's camp. Klein says Americans are realistic about President Obama's efforts—and opportunities—to fix the economy, and they're staying with him because they simply like him more.

The polls bear this out. The president enjoys a 29-point edge in "likeability," according to a May 8 Gallup survey. Even those who disagree with him and those who trust Romney more on the economy like Obama more. And, since 1980, every candidate who has had an edge in this category has won.

And the election is winnable. Incumbency is not the advantage it once was. Presidents seeking re-election have won just three times in six tries since 1976 and are just four-and-four going back to 1968—if you count Lyndon Johnson, who bowed out of the race when he knew he faced defeat.

But the time is now—before the Obama propaganda machine and its handmaidens in the media do more to cement the image of Romney as an aloof son of privilege utterly unconnected to the problems of "Real America."

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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published this page in In The News 2012-05-17 16:30:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy