The presidential race isn’t over, but Mitt Romney’s current trajectory in the polls will not cross President Obama’s by Nov. 6—or maybe even Nov. 6 of next year. If something doesn't happen to shake up the race, Romney will lose.
Romney’s negatives, particularly in swing states, have grown to the point that if allowed to solidify, his opportunity to recover will vanish. The GOP nominee still has a chance to change the trajectory of the campaign, but the longer he takes, the smaller the payoff. A shrinking band of undecided voters, maybe 4 or 5 percent in swing states, could very well stay home on Election Day.
If the presidential race stays on its current course for another week or 10 days, Romney faces the very real prospect that Republican donors, super PACs, and other parts of the GOP support structure will begin to shift resources away from helping him and toward a last-ditch effort to win a Senate majority—which once seemed very likely—and to protect the party’s House majority.
The next week or 10 days are thus critical for Romney and the GOP. If things don’t turn around, a stampede could ensue reminiscent of 1996, when Republicans realized that Bob Dole was not going to defeat President Clinton. History could repeat itself. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S N2K PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
What if Presidential Debates Don't Matter?
[Washington Post, 9/28/12] Everyone is talking about the importance of the upcoming debates for both candidates, but historical polling suggests there are relatively few examples of times in which debates fundamentally altered the course of a race.
Romney Cautiously Eyes Foreign-Policy Opening With Libya
[National Journal, 9/28/12] While a Romney adviser said on Thursday that the White House had attempted to “mislead” on the events in Libya, the candidate himself has been cautious of late. The debates might be a golden opportunity to launch a new line of attack, NJ’s Major Garrett writes.
The Polling Impact of the '47 Percent'
[New York Times, 9/28/12] On Romney’s now-infamous comments about those who don’t pay federal income taxes, Nate Silver writes that “there’s a case to be made that they did damage Mr. Romney’s standing some.”
Bob Dole on Life After Losing in 1996
[Washington Post, 9/28/12] Dole reflects on losing his presidential bid and finding renewed meaning in life, writing: "Sure, losing an election hurts, but I’ve experienced worse." Dole said he's found the most meaning in his post-campaign work for veterans.
Polls Show Close Races in Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia
[National Journal, 9/27/12] New battleground-state polls released on Thursday show tight presidential contests in Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia--three states that President Obama wrestled away from the GOP in 2008. Taken together, the polls suggest that Obama has not fully engaged his 2008 coalition.
Romney Looks to Pennsylvania as Debate Looms
[Associated Press, 9/28/12] Mitt Romney’s campaign is not running any TV ads in Pennsylvania, and aides privately concede that Obama has a significant advantage in the Keystone State. On the flip side, Romney is spending Friday at fundraisers in the Southeastern part of the state. He told donors at one of the events that winning Pennsylvania would be a “shock.”
Obama Speaks to Netanyahu, Pledges Support of Israel
[USA Today, 9/28/12] Obama reaffirmed the United States’ “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security” in a phone call to the country’s prime minister on Friday. Romney spoke with Netanyahu a short time later.
Election to Decide Future Interrogation Methods in Terrorism Cases
[New York Times, 9/27/12] Although neither candidate has said much about torture as part of terrorism investigations during the campaign, each has his unique stance: Obama has stuck to a strict no-torture policy, while Romney’s advisers have privately urged him to permit “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Polls: Medicare Working to Boost Obama in Swing States
[Washington Post, 9/27/12] Voters, particularly seniors, in three critical swing states--Florida, Ohio, and Virginia--broadly oppose the far-reaching changes to Medicare associated with the GOP ticket, and prefer Obama to handle the issue by significant margins. Meanwhile, some Romney backers in Ohio don't believe the polls.
Opinion: Go Large, Mitt
[Washington Post, 9/27/12] Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer faults Romney for failing to be more aggressive in attacking Obama on foreign policy and urges the Republican to abandon "small ball" for a big-ideas campaign. Liberal columnist Robert Reich cites four reasons Romney "isn't toast" yet.
Political Connections: Slipping Away
[National Journal, 9/27/12] Obama and Romney each insist that their approach will bend the Middle East more to our design, but this part of the world is far more likely to frustrate than reward either man, NJ's Ronald Brownstein writes. Played down in the chastened tone of Obama’s U.N. address was the fact that America’s standing in the Muslim world is no better now--and in some cases worse--than during the Bush years.
New Noncitizen Voter Purge Has Its Own Problems
[Tampa Bay Times, 9/28/12] Florida’s county election supervisors are frustrated by the state’s latest effort to strip some suspected noncitizens from the voter rolls -- the state’s second voter purge. The Times’ editorial board denounced Gov. Rick Scott’s “shameless voter suppression effort.” The Times’ John Romano argues that the one area in which voter fraud actually is a threat has gone mostly ignored: absentee ballots.