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Post-RNC Thumbnail Sketch of the Presidential Race – Green Dragon
Aug 312012

Here is your post-Republican-convention Presidential race thumbnail, as viewed by Your Tavernkeeper:

Two national polls were released today. CNN has Obama by 7 points nationally, and FOX-fer-gods-sake News by 9. Those numbers are identical to where they were three weeks ago, before Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Of course, these polls only measure the national horse race, and what really matters are the battleground states. But perception is huge in national elections, and Americans hate to back a loser. Reports from Tampa are that after Romney’s speech, even delegates to the convention appeared dispirited and glum as they filed out of the arena. The more Obama looks like an inevitable winner, the more likely he is to become an actual one.

These polls were conducted prior last night’s…um…unique climax to the RNC, so they don’t reflect any possible convention bounce, but I don’t expect Romney to get much, if any such help. Here’s why:

Romney announced his selection of Paul Ryan earlier than he should have, because he was desperate to shift the national conversation away from his tax returns and record at  Bain Capital. Given that Romney isn’t exciting or particularly liked in the first place, the VP pick was probably going to be the biggest driver of any convention-driven improvement in his numbers.

Because he announced his selection early, it’s been long enough that any such bounce would already have shown up in the polls. Yet with the exception of Wisconsin, where the GOP ticket has seen slight improvement—but the President still leads—there has been no sign that Paul Ryan has much helped Romney’s prospects.

Now we are done with a convention that is perceived by many as having been a disaster for the GOP. The big takeaways from this year’s RNC are that Paul Ryan is a lying lying liar and Clint Eastwood lost an argument with an empty chair; the more insider-baseball stories which will undermine GOP voter enthusiasm are the suppression of Ron Paul delegates through passage of a rather Stalinist rule change, and the fact that Romney himself does not support the party’s platform plank on abortion, which certainly can’t be pleasing social conservatives. Of course, that position could change, because with Romney, it usually does.

TV ratings for Ryan’s big speech were only slightly more than half what they were for Palin on the same night in 2008, even though Ryan—being unfamiliar to many voters—should arguably have been the biggest draw of the convention besides Eastwood. Sarah Palin may be a dim bulb, but she’s charismatic to conservatives. You don’t tend to find “Paul Ryan” and “charismatic” in the same sentence; he just ain’t no Sarah Palin. And that’s another serious problem for the GOP ticket, because given the sharply reduced audience, those who were watching this convention were almost certainly the Republican base, rather than undecided voters.

Maybe, given its content, that’s a plus for them, actually.

The upshot of all this is that Romney’s last real opportunity to make a positive impression on the American people is over, and unless I am very much mistaken, he failed in that task. Which is a serious problem for him, because America really, really doesn’t like him.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver notes that economic indicators are improving somewhat, undermining the GOP argument and strengthening the incumbent. His model now shows Obama over 70% likely to win.

The DNC is up next, and we know that one speaker, at least, has the chops to draw and retain viewer attention. Like it or not, America smells like teen spirit, and the incumbent President knows how to make his case while entertaining us.

It’s still a long way to November, but the Romney/Ryan ticket is running out of options. Looks like they’re stuck with spend that money and lie, baby, lie.

At publication, the Dragon was ANALYTICAL

  9 Responses to “Post-RNC Thumbnail Sketch of the Presidential Race”

  1. Good news for sure, but I am not going to be complacent. I want a repudiating smackdown and nothing less. Which leads me to this question: What tips to you have as far as talking the ” they all suck, why bother” crowd into going to a polling booth? I have numerous friends as such. They arent the disgruntled leftys who consider Obama as selling them out, they are disgruntled in general, but if a gun was held to their heads and they were forced to choose, they would go for Obama and the Democrats. Perhaps you can share some tips on how to talk to these folks?

    • I’ll be writing a post on exactly that question next week!

      • I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you have to say about that, Mark! I want to know HOW to convince people to pay enough attention and to realize that this election truly IS quite important!

  2. […] Post-RNC Thumbnail Sketch of the 2012 Presidential Election … Go to this article […]

  3. I look forward to it. It seems like I get through to the civic dropout types, but trying to talk to some of the lefty hardliners is like talking to a wall.

  4. The analysis I have seen says that this election cycle is atypical with regard to the numbers of people who are Undecided at this stage. Fewer. The middle has shrunk. Most have ‘made up their mind’ already. I won’t get into what I think of making up one’s mind…

    I’m afraid I find the loss of moderate voters to be true; left and right. It’s a concomitant facet of the polarization that has expanded in recent years. However, I think that there is a election-winning number of moderate folks still in the population – even among those that say they’ve decided, but whom lie on the center-edge of the Right. It’s just that most of what they hear comes from the loudest mouthpipes and that’s little but radical shite. It’s leaving them appalled, disillusioned and scared. And worst of all, wanting to just not look. Stay home. Don’t bother.

    While I am more or less optimistic about Obama’s chances, I definitely agree that we need a smackdown. We need to really, really, get moderates, Real Republicans™ and progressive people out in HUGE numbers. Voter ID (*cough* suppression) laws may or may not get struck down in time to add to an Obama win this election, so we should be prepared to bring MORE moderates, who are suffering civic paralysis, to the polls.

  5. Bear, the folks I am referring to are folks who grew up with the bad taste of Vietnam and Watergate in their mouths and who also internalized the “government is the problem, not the solution” of the Reagan-era (even if they werent Reagan supporters). Anyway, I am looking forward to Marks suggestions. I am not in a position to volunteer time for the Obama campaign, but if I can get a couple to folks to the polls who wouldnt have shown up otherwise it will help.

    • Earl, I’m afraid I have to push the post I promised to next week. DNC stuff hijacked this week–which I should have anticipated, actually. Next week, I promise!

  6. Looks like your bartender was onto something. Gallup shows zero bounce from the convention, and Public Policy Polling shows specifically that the race in Florida is at exactly the same point it was five weeks ago, before both the convention and the Ryan pick. Romney is running on a treadmill.

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