Monday, October 22, 2012


Nate Silver continues to believe that Barack Obama is a favorite to win the Electoral College, but he doesn't think the second debate helped Obama:
... it's been almost a week since the second presidential debate, in Hempstead, N.Y., one that instant-reaction polls said was a narrow victory for him. But there is little sign that this has translated into a bounce for Mr. Obama in his head-to-head polls against Mitt Romney. Instead, the presidential race may have settled into a period of relative stability.
Greg Mitchell ponders this:
Nate agrees with me that there has been no "bounce" for Obama after the debate, which he clearly won. We wonder why. It's possible he blew it so badly in the first debate--and Biden's mocking performance didn't help--that he locked about 48% in solidly for Romney now until Election Day.
Obama blew it in the first debate, but the more important event was that Romney didn't blow it. These were separate events that happened simultaneously. Voters fell for the phony rollout of Moderate, Feel-Your-Pain Mitt. I think even if Obama had had a strong debate performance, Romney would have seemed decent and competent to the gullible public, and likely to bring positive change. It was an impressive act.

As a result, nothing Romney did in Debate #2 undermined what he did in Debate #1. It didn't help Obama that the most-discussed moment of the debate was on Libya, a subject that isn't what ordinary voters are focusing on, at least outside Romney's base. It also didn't help Obama that Romney's obnoxiousness was ignored in the post-debate analysis -- it wasn't deemed to be comic (as Joe Biden's was in the VP debate) and it was partly offset by Obama's assertiveness (which sometimes led him to needle and interrupt as well).

But that's to be expected -- Romney is now deemed acceptable by a lot of voters, and capable of winning by the Beltway, so he's plausible, and stuff he does poorly (e.g., nagging Candy Crowley about the rules) is no longer seen as grounds for dismissal.

What Dave Weigel said last week about gaffes is true, alas, and illustrates a broader principle:
The Great Gaffe-Spotting Engine knows no logic or mercy. Right now it hurts the Obama-Biden ticket, because the benefit of the doubt on gaffes always cuts against the campaign that appears to be losing. This was why any and every slip Romney-Ryan made -- marathon times! -- became a September scandal, while Obama's occasional slips didn't go anywhere.
Romney is generally getting the benefit of every doubt now. Obama isn't. For Romney to be hurt by a gaffe (or a poor debate performance) now, it's going to have to be monumentally bad. He's going to get a pass on a lot of stuff that would have hurt him a month ago.

1 comment:

Victor said...


I made a comment on the wrong post.

Oh well, here I go again:
Let's face some facts about many of our fellow Americans.

Enough of them saw that Obama was the only hope in 2008.

But since then, manyy of them have been looking around for "The Next Great White Hope," who would be competent enough to have that Nigrah leave their WHITE House.
Some "NOT W" that they could vote for, and not feel like the country would spiral back out of control.

If Obama was white, got the economy out of the sh*tter, got national health care passed, got out or Iraq, and killed Osama bin Laden, he might be running virtually uncontested, with some token Republican chosen to be a sacrificial lamb to run against him.

But Obama ISN'T white.
And so, here we are.
It really IS that simple!