Romney Momentum

Shortly after the Republican National Committee convention nominated Mitt Romney many conservative voters hung their heads as poll after poll showed President Obama with a commanding lead. The prospect of another four years of Obama rule created a sense of disquiet and downright depression among GOP faithful. The brief spurt of enthusiasm after the choice of Paul Ryan as VP candidate had subsided and the Democratic National Committee convention with Bill Clinton, the GOP’s arch nemesis, had shaken the hopes of many hardcore conservative analysts.

Early polling, following the conventions, showed the president solidly ahead of Romney in most battleground states, massive margins among all minority groups and a huge lead with woman voters. The GOP’s 3-2-1 strategy appeared doomed.

Polls Move For Romney


Everywhere political pundits told us the debates don’t matter. Unless you’re old enough to remember the Kennedy-Nixon debates and perhaps, to a lesser degree, the Reagan-Carter debates, when can we recall debates that substantially altered the course of a presidential election?

The first presidential debate of 2012, in the thin air of Denver, Colorado, for the first time placed President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney together on one stage. Many believed that the smooth-talking Obama on the same television screen with the robotic Romney would be a one-sided thumping; but the debate was anything but what was expected.

Romney was energetic, knowledgeable and comfortable while Obama appeared tired and small by comparison. There were no Earth-shattering sound bites, no major gaffs, but there was an opportunity to portray a vision for the future; Romney availed himself of the opportunity while Obama did not.

The first debate did not substantially affect the base voters, but it set into motion a movement of undecided voters towards Romney.

Romney in Ohio

The second debate was held at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York. This debate used the town hall format, allowing audience members to ask questions of the competitors. President Obama was far more animated than in the first debate and clearly scored more points than Mr. Romney; however nothing that occurred in the debate was of sufficient consequence to change the momentum that Romney gained from the first debate. An overtly partisan moderator, Candy Crowley, sided with the president on the matter of declaring the Benghazi attacks an act of terror; but in the days that followed news about what the administration knew and when they knew it unraveled in the president’s face diluting any benefit he received from Crowley’s support.

The final debate took place in Boca Raton, Florida. The two candidates sat together at a table and there was a notable change in Romney. Supporters of the governor were concerned as Romney took a very restrained approach, often agreeing with the president on foreign affairs matters and clearly irritating the president by not giving him opportunities to strike. Romney deftly brought the debate back to domestic issues and the economy, frustrating Obama’s battle plan to show Romney’s weakness on foreign affairs. Twenty-four hours later those concerned about Romney’s performance were hailing it as a strategic masterpiece.

More Paths to Victory for Romney

Today we stand 13 days away from the election and the electoral map has changed dramatically. The president still hold a narrow lead over Romney in the critical state of Ohio, but the lead is well within the margin of error. Obama still maintains a lead in Iowa, but in every other battleground state Romney has taken control and in some cases is pulling away.

It is likely that not much will change between now and Election Day. All signs, save one, strongly point to a Romney victory. The lone concern remains the state of Ohio, which is now the president’s only hope of victory. But history is Romney’s side; when a state is within the margin of error it often goes to a president’s opponent as last-minute deciders tend to vote in favor of the underdog.

The state Romney needs to complete his 3-2-1 strategy, Ohio, has become the president’s firewall and shy of some election altering news it will drift into Romney’s hands. The news though is even worse for the president as recent polling shows that Romney has at least 11 other scenarios, even without a victory in Ohio, to take the 270 electoral votes and the election and the president has only the states of Ohio, Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin to carry him to victory. The president is likely to take Iowa and has a chance to take Wisconsin, but Florida is now moving into Romney’s camp. Things must line up nearly perfectly for Obama to be re-elected while Romney now has a variety of paths to the White House.

The last thing a president wants is a near draw two weeks out from an election, which is what national polling indicates, as that portends a bad result on Election Day. Prepare for a very bad night Mr. Obama, as what had been seen as a very close victory is now showing signs that it may well be an overwhelming defeat.


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