Doug Wilson is pretty convinced that Mitt Romney will pull off an impressive win against President Obama this November. Wilson is so sure of his prediction that he says, “If I were a betting man, which I am not, I would be willing to put a $25 steak dinner on it.” Well, if I were a betting man, which I am not, I would see his $25 steak dinner and raise him a $15 barbecue platter. I think President Obama is going to win reelection.
Having said that, it’s important to point out that I’m no political professional. I’m just an amateur who follows these things pretty closely. So take my prognostication with the requisite grain of salt. But here’s why I think the country will be blue again this November:
1. The polls are trending against Romney. I know, I know. Republican critics are saying that the polls should not be trusted at this point and that there is some internal flaw with the polling. I am not buying that. It’s not any one poll that that I am basing this on. Nearly all the major polls have Romney behind, and I’m having a hard time believing that they are all wrong. The trends are clear, so critics’ objections sound like special pleading to me.
2. Romney is losing in the battleground states. It’s not just that Romney is behind in national polls. He’s losing in the swing states that he must win in order to reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes. President Obama starts out with about 265 electoral votes from states that are likely to go his way. Romney starts out with 191. That leaves only 82 electoral votes from states that are genuine toss-ups. Romney has to win nearly all of them, but he’s falling behind in nearly all of them. Just look at the trends below in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia (see below). In those critical battlegrounds, President Obama has overtaken Romney and is poised to increase his lead.
3. Negative impressions of Romney are already beginning to harden among the electorate. No doubt the media drive some of this, and no doubt much of this is unfair. But Romney hasn’t helped with his weekly gaffes—the recent 47% comment being perhaps the worst. The bottom line is that Romney has not convinced voters that he is a viable alternative to the incumbent. In an election that should be focused on the record of the incumbent, it has instead been focused on lampooning Romney’s mistakes. This too is driven in part by the media. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and Romney shows no signs of transcending it.
4. Romney has one chance to change negative impressions of him: the debates. To be specific, he has to dazzle voters in the first debate. But I haven’t seen anything in Romney’s debate performances that makes me think he’s capable of dazzling anyone. Perhaps Romney will surprise everyone and prove me wrong, but I doubt it.
So I look forward to claiming my $25 steak dinner from Brother Wilson this November…[throat clearing] that is, if I were a betting man.
–My name is Denny Burk, and I approve this message.–