On Morning Joe today, Mark Halperin explained what he says is Beltway conventional wisdom: Romney may lose because Romney is perceived as losing:
MARK HALPERIN: I'm going to take a risk here and peel back the curtain to tell you what insiders are thinking. This is not my opinion and this is not a projection of who’s going to win but insiders in both parties look at the last few days of swing state polls and say, "The President may have this." ... Right now, there's a danger for Governor Romney that elites are starting to think, in the last 24 hours, that these leads are, as the Obama campaign has said for a long time, small but persistent and consistent. And, I think, it may not effect the coverage that much but there's a bit of a tipping point here. Romney needs to go into the weekend, for his own sake, with the race tied in the conventional wisdom rather than what some people are now thinking, that these polls suggest the President will win this with the Electoral College dominance that he's had.Halperin says that "insiders in both parties" think Obama may have it in the bag -- but it seems to me that the GOP camp is much more focused on how this perception game plays out, because the GOP camp has really been fixated on creating the perception that Romney is in the lead. I'm not aware of any moment when Obama or a surrogate told a crowd at a rally, "Vote for us -- we're winning." But Romney has said that a lot. And Team Romney has worked very hard to persuade the press that he's winning.
Which means that if Obama wins, the right will insist that stories saying Romney was losing caused Romney to lose. There'll be right-wing books with titles such as In the Tank: How the Mainstream Media Stole the 2012 Election for Barack Obama. Large portions of these books will be devoted to the notion that Nate Silver, above all others, ruined Romney's chances with his evil math-based objective propaganda.
I know, I know: if Obama wins, it's hardly news that the wingers will whine about something. But it will be odd if what they whine about is the notion that they should have been able to win this thing just by persuading us that they were winning it, but evil opponents unfairly deprived them of the opportunity to create their own reality.