Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Debates: The Reset Button

Tonight we are going to see Romney re-launch himself. Jay Cost claims the race has just begun:
The core swing voters are just now starting to make up their minds. Recall Romney’s basic theory of the race: he has 47 percent of the vote locked in, and so does Obama; that means it is a battle for that final 6 percent. These people are not won via a marathon, but by a sprint through this month; via television advertising as well as the debates, they come to make up their minds.
His theory is that historically 25% of the voters are undecided around October and will decide within the last month or week. This is when the "Death Star" (Romney's massive fund reservoir) will "fire." The ignition powder for this explosive come-back is tonight's debate. Romney has prepared some zingers and he aired a few of them:
  • Obama doesn't just like picking winners and losers. He likes picking losers
  • We've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent, and what does the president have to say to all this? He says `forward.' I think `forewarned' is a better term
  • He's out of ideas, he's out of excuses, and on November 6th you're going to put him out of office
  • He's making us more and more like Europe. I don't want to be like Europe. Europe doesn't work in Europe
Indeed, Nate Silver notes that historically the debates do help the challenger:
In the nine elections between 1976 and 2008, there were only two years when the incumbent-party candidate gained ground relative to the challenger; these cases were 1976, when Gerald R. Ford halved his six-point deficit with Jimmy Carter, and 1988, when George H.W. Bush moved just slightly further ahead of Michael Dukakis.
But on average, the challenging-party candidate gained a net of one and a half percentage points on the incumbent-party candidate.
Hold on to your hats.

What Do I Think?
About the only thing I think is that the media is going to tell us what to think when this is all said and done (and it'll be Obama). The measure of debates is very subjective. Half the audience (47% anyway) will applaud Romney's zingers. Half (47%, approximately) will find Obama presidential. In the middle will be "swing voters" who are probably watching something else.

Edited to Add: The 7-Eleven election already has it for Obama.
Past years:
I wonder if this is closer than Gallup ...

No comments:

Post a Comment