Democrats should prepare for President Romney

| May 12 2012
Christopher Cook

There are dangers in overconfidence. There are dangers in underestimating one’s opponents and overestimating oneself or one’s allies. That is a mistake I do not wish to make. Until recently, it was a mistake the Democrats appeared to be making. They were speaking as though Obama has this election in the bag. He does not. They may be starting to discover that now, as the polls start to move a bit more in Romney’s favor.

On the other hand, there are serious dangerous in “underconfidence” as well. In elections, it is arguably not too bad a mistake for a campaign, but lack of confidence in or enthusiasm about one’s candidate is FATAL among that candidate’s supporters. This election is going to be decided on turnout. That’s it. Unless one of the candidates does something awful or wonderful, it will all come down to the enthusiasm gap. If Republicans and conservatives are more fired up and enthusiastic, Romney will win handily. If they are demoralized, he’s in trouble.

Right now, the signs are pointing to Romney gathering strength, and to Obama being weaker than the Democrats may be willing to admit or accept.

 

Economy and gas prices . . .

Recent polls indicate that Americans’ views on the economy—and Obama’s handling of it—are worsening. That is bad for Obama. Gas prices are especially on American’s minds, and incumbent presidents do not usually survive high gas prices.

 

GOP coming together . . .

The wounds of a rough Republican primary are healing. Gingrich is campaigning with Romney now. Santorum has endorsed Romney, albeit somewhat tepidly. Slowly, the GOP and conservatives will coalesce. As that happens, Romney’s numbers will rise in the polls. Romney’s current numbers may be closer to a floor than a ceiling. The same may not be able to be said for Obama. It will be a long process, and there will be a lot of conservative holdouts who really don’t like Romney, but their numbers will fall and his supporters’ numbers will increase.

 

The undecideds . . .

Recently, Dick Morris said that if the election were held today, Romney would win in a landslide. Though that may be overstated vis-a-vis the current moment, and though Morris’ predictions have not always played out the way he expected, he makes at least one point that is striking:

…a study of the undecided voters in the past eight elections in which incumbents sought a second term as president reveals that only Bush-43 gained any of the undecided vote. Johnson in ’64, Nixon in ’72, Ford in ’76, Carter in ’80, Reagan in ’84, Bush in ’92 and Clinton in ’96 all failed to pick up a single undecided vote.

These studies are hard to do because they rely on exit polls and other survey methods (as opposed to some official register of all votes). But they are still of great value. If undecideds are going to break for Romney, Obama is toast. The fact that as an incumbent, he isn’t breaking over 50% is a bad sign already. If he is going to lose late breakers, then where does he have to grow?

 

Trouble in paradise

Bill Clinton is campaigning for Obama. But how enthusiastic—or credible—can that campaigning be when stories like this come out?

The title of Klein’s explosive, unauthorized bio of Obama, “The Amateur” (Regnery Publishing), was taken directly from Bill Clinton’s bombshell criticism of the president, the author said.

“Barack Obama,” Bill Clinton said, according to book excerpts, “is an amateur.”

The withering criticism is incredible, given the fact that Bill Clinton is actively campaigning for Obama’s re-election.

But according to the book, Bill Clinton unloaded on Obama and pressed Hillary to run against her boss during a gathering in the ex-president’s home office in Chappaqua last August that included longtime friends, Klein said.

“The economy’s a mess, it’s dead flat. America has lost its Triple-A rating . . . You know better than Obama does,” Bill said.

Bill Clinton insisted he had “no relationship” with Obama and had been consulted more frequently by his presidential successor, George W. Bush.

Obama, Bill Clinton said, “doesn’t know how to be president” and is “incompetent.”

 

Up for grabs

Romney is over 50% for the first time in Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll, and seven points over Obama. That’s a registered voters poll, and those usually favor Democrats.

Sober analysis suggests that this election, in its current state, is very much up for grabs. Democrats might want to keep the champagne on ice a little while longer. Republicans may want to put away the hankies and get to work.

Enthusiasm will carry the day.

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