Yesterday, a CBS News/NY Times/Quinnipiac University poll was released that showed President Obama with a 10-point lead over Mitt Romney in Ohio. Yet on MSNBC and elsewhere, the Ohio race was still called a “showdown” and a “battleground”. Now, this does not seem to be wholly inaccurate but it is reflective of how the MSM continues undeterred by developments to promote the Presidential election as a horse race.
Yes, any election could be deemed a “showdown” no matter how far ahead one candidate is from another and any area where candidates compete for votes could be called a “battleground” but the inference from the pervasive use of these terms is that there is a nail-biter of a race going on…when that may not in fact be the case.
And so far, looking at the polls in Ohio and the rest of the swing states, it hasn’t been and isn’t currently a close election. This same poll showed Obama leading in Florida by 9 points, 53 percent to 44 percent. In Pennsylvania, Obama leads by 12 points at 54 percent to 42 percent. In fact, in all of the most recent polls, Obama leads Romney in all of the swing states (courtesy of Real Clear Politics):
Monday, September 24
|Obama 51, Romney 45
|Obama 49, Romney 45
|Obama 51, Romney 44
|Obama 51, Romney 44
|Obama 50, Romney 45
|Obama 54, Romney 42
|Obama 53, Romney 41
Putting aside the neck-an-neck meme that the American public has been hammered into their minds by the media from the outset, look at these numbers and the numbers in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania and ask yourself, do these numbers reflect a race that could go either way? Might not reality be a bit different from what the mainstream media has been insisting it is?
President Obama has held a lead nationally over Romney for the entire year (when you discount the Republican skewed and discredited Rasmussen polls). Romney has never led Obama in the Electoral College vote, not once, and those numbers are the only ones that count. The national poll numbers are often presented by news channels to demonstrate how close the election is but national polls are irrelevant. If there are hundreds of thousands or even millions of more Republican voters coming out in red states than Democrats in swing states, that is meaningless when it comes to electing a President. Romney doesn’t get any more electoral votes if he wins Texas by 20 points instead of 10 points.
Perhaps, from the outset, this hasn’t truly been the neck-and-neck race the mainstream media either anticipated or hoped for. Perhaps the reality is that President Obama began as a solid favorite and is only strengthening as one. Perhaps there is a financial incentive for the MSM to lean the election story into a horse race because it’s better for ratings and earnings when people feel anxious about who will win and are driven each day to watch these networks to get the latest news.
On the other hand…we are still six weeks out from election day and polls are merely a snapshot of where sensibilities are at a certain and fleeting point in time. So is it possible that despite all of these polls, the lead Obama holds is fragile and could be reversed by gaffes or unpredictable events? Might it really be a horse race even if the polls say differently?
And what effect could overconfidence have on turnout for Obama, could a meaningful number of Democrats shrug off voting because they feel their vote isn’t needed…and in fact obliviously create an opening for Romney to win? Or, will Obama’s rise continue to energize Democrats and result in a greater turnout?
Right now, Obama is clearly ahead of Romney and his momentum keeps growing and building bigger margins. No doubt, the Obama campaign is mindful of the danger of overconfidence in their supporters. So, even the Obama campaign is not going to come out and dispute that this razor very close election.
The Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet but if you listen closely, you can here her warming up in the wings. The election isn’t over until the votes are counted but Obama’s lead in the poll numbers has been a constant.
Three major factors argue that Romney can’t take the electoral lead.
1. There are not enough undecided voters left.
When the General Election began, about 20 percent of voters were undecided. Now, it’s down to about 10 percent (yep, those low info voters still can’t see a big enough difference between Obama and Romney to make a decision…maybe we should have been legislating Voter IQ laws instead of Voter ID laws?). Even if Romney gets a majority of that 10 percent, it would only amount to around half to one percent of the vote. That’s just not enough to move the needle to Romney’s side.
2. Early voting has started in some states and is starting shortly in others.
People are already voting in swing states today and more will be voting each day. Those are votes that don’t change and in an environment where Obama is leading in a big way in those states, he is currently locking in an advantage. This creates an exponentially difficult mission for Romney, to convert a greater and greater percentage of people who haven’t yet voted to his side. It’s not impossible but it is difficult to see how, as referenced above, the small percentage of undecided voters remaining can be used to accomplish this.
3. Expectations for Romney at the first debate are so high, they can’t be fully met.
The voices on the right and Romney’s campaign have been in a stampede away from the reality of the polls, trying to claim all polls are liberally slanted (including Fox News’ polls!). They simultaneously, in that Romney way, contradict themselves and say that while Romney may be a little behind, we haven’t had the debates yet. While the main motivation here seems to be disqualifying the current momentum of the race towards Obama, it also builds up a scenario that all of this will be but a memory after Romney and Obama have their first debate. This is setting up Romney for an impossible situation. Let’s give Romney every benefit of the doubt, all of his preparation pays off and he looks strong and confident and dare I say, Presidential while Obama stumbles and looks like the loser of the debate. That doesn’t change the fact that only about 10 percent of the population remains undecided. In a debate, no matter how expertly Romney flips and flops, he will still be promoting the agenda of the wealthy against the majority of Americans and advocating the killing of the ACA so that the uninsured can go back to emergency room treatment as their sole health care solution. There is no doubt that Obama and Jim Lehrer will bring up the 47% comment and mentality, Romney’s untruths about Welfare and his support for ending Medicare as we know it. No matter how wonderfully Romney does, much of that remaining 10 percent of persuadable voters will still not be interested in signing up with Mitt. Now, consider a scenario where Romney doesn’t do well in the debate after all this build up. His people and the right wing will quickly pivot to, “Wait until next time, that’s when he’ll win and turn this election around.” From all appearances, whether he does or doesn’t get crowned the winner of the first debate, despite that many in the media are praying for Romney to win and reinvigorate their horse race meme, it just seems like even in the best scenario for Romney, it’s throwing a cup of water on a forest fire.
Consider what the meme will be if Romney is celebrated as the winner of the debate…but it makes little to no difference in the polls. Will there finally be an admission that Romney just can’t reverse Obama’s lead?
We’ve been inundated by memes from media pundits throughout this election, nearly all have proven to be flat out wrong. They told us that if unemployment didn’t fall below 7 percent, Obama would lose. They said that the economy would be the only issue for voters. They explained that Obama would never be able to out raise Romney in any given month. They assured that ROmney would move to the center in the General Election. They stated that when the weak labor report came out last month, Obama would take a hit in the polls. Has there been a single prediction by pundits that has turned out to be accurate?
Keeping this in mind, might it also be possible that despite all the alleged conventional wisdom that we’ve been buried in…that the 2012 Presidential election is not a horse race that is going to come down to a photo finish? It may instead be a different kind of match up that’s a bit more one-sided…like the Washington Generals going up against the Harlem Globetrotters.