This Wednesday in the University of Denver we have round one of Barack v Mitt in what many are billing as Romney’s last chance at denting what can only be described as a death spiral for his fortunes in the Election so far.
For many the noticeable and somewhat irreversible change to his fortunes started when his team and handlers thought it would be a good idea if Clint Eastwood spoke to a chair in the middle of an arena in Tampa, FL, for others, when he thought it was a good idea to voice his concerns in relation to the Olympics in London and the spirit and level of preparedness of the city in general.
Whilst neither of these faux pas were or are fatal the former mentioned was definitely bizarre whilst the latter was an own goal especially considering the ‘Special Relationship’ between the UK and US coupled with some ideological similarities between both the Tories and the US Republicans. These acts did, however, get people speaking if Romney’s campaign in not so glittering terms including the fact that it appears to be poorly organised and incompetently run, something that doesn’t exactly lead into his narrative of being a successful business man who knows what he is at.
Following on from these, there is what many may consider to be his largest known blunder to date when he was secretly taped disparaging a large proportion of the electorate at a private banquet for his campaign, some 47% in total, in what his running Paul Ryan called ‘a misstep’ by Romney .
Meanwhile, the POTUS has been working a pretty tight campaign. There is very little ‘hope’ about and the focus appears to be ‘vote for us cos we’re not as bad or as crazy as those lot’, which may not fire up his base as well as key demographics who do not normally vote and came out to vote in 2008 (for instance the young, African Americans and Latinos), however, with every ‘misstep’ Romney makes it may bring the natural Democrat vote out.
As of this evening, Romney is trailing in three polls. On Thursday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll has Obama ahead by 7 on 49-42, Bloomberg has Obama ahead by 6 at 49-43, while Fox News, his main cheerleaders in the main stream media have him down 49-41 among registered voters (page 3 of the link), so a new narrative has clearly taken hold where Romney’s campaign is in trouble against an incumbent who is not making any mistakes at the moment. In three of the biggest swing states (Ohio, Florida and Virginia) Obama is leading 52-44, 49-46 and 49-46 respectively. In fact, at the moment ALL of the swing states are blue at the moment. Whilst the last 2 are within a margin of error, it must be noted that it has been sometime since Romney has lead in any of these States, which begs the questions, can he turn his campaign around and quick?
Well, for a start, each campaign is doing its best to play up the strengths of their opponents in the hope of dulling expectations of their own guy, but to be honest it would be a safe bet that Wednesday night’s debate, together with the other two, will not have that much of an impact on the polling, barring some massive mistake by either of the candidates. Further, ‘winning’ the debates is never a sure fire way to the White House. It is widely considered that Al Gore defeated Dubya in 2000 in all three of their encounters, however, when he was seen to square up to the former Texan Governor this was fed into the narrative of him not being as down to earth as Dubya.
Then of course we have the case of Kennedy v Nixon where the latter apparently won on radio while the former won on TV.
Senator McCain who ran against Barack Obama in 2008 told CNN that:
‘I can’t remember the last time there was one of these comments that grabbed everybody’s attention because, frankly, the candidates are too well prepared.’
This contest will not be decided by debates but most likely by employment figures and whether there will be unexpected geo-political event in (most likely) the Persian Gulf or elsewhere.