The election is two months away. Polling data, which has been remarkably accurate during the primaries, is showing a close popular vote, but the electoral map favors President Obama. A Republican must win Florida and Ohio, most likely, to win the presidency because California and New York are solidly Democratic. If Pennsylvania goes Democratic, which is likely according the polls, and Illinois is probably not in play, Florida and Ohio become absolutely crucial for the Republicans to put enough electoral votes on the board to win.
I thought Mitt Romney made an excellent speech to the Republican Convention, but it was too late at night to get a big audience. Viewership was down 30% from 2008. Marco Rubio of Florida made a superb nominating speech, but the talk after the event was about Clint Eastwood’s ad-libbed empty chair fiasco. The fireman from Medford, Massachusetts, who should have had the spotlight, not Eastwood, got little notice 90 minutes ahead of Mitt Romney.
In my opinion, the Republican Convention was a partial success. I give it a B- for effectiveness, because they did little to counteract Obama’s huge lead among Latino voters, about 70-30. If this holds, Romney probably loses Florida, Nevada, and New Mexico. Game almost over.
Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan was a good one, though it defied the popular wisdom that he needed Senator Rob Partman of Ohio to help him win the Buckeye state. The merit of choosing Ryan is that he gives the impression of a person who could be President, and he has a clear economic policy that can help define the waffling Romney campaign. But the Democrats are attempting to smear Ryan on his Medicare stance to push Florida seniors toward Obama.
But I do not think the election is a done deal. Obama’s popularity has slid considerably in four years.
His leadership has been weak. He has not sold his policies to the country. The high unemployment rate is still his albatross. The unforgiving negativity of Republicans in Congress has actually made Obama look good. I do not see the Affordable Heath Care Act (Obama Care) as a major issue in the election because nobody really understands its impact yet. Dodd-Frank, though important to banks, also has little visibility with voters.
What can still win the election for Romney is his performance in the Debates. Al Gore and John Kerry both lost the election in the Debates and McCain did not help himself.
Romney needs to impress America that he will be the leader to take the country to a better place economically or Obama must look cynical or ineffectual to change what appears to be a likely outcome today. Personally, I think Romney must do something stunning to change the 70-30 Latino advantage of Obama. Maybe if he spoke in Spanish to declare his support for the “Dream Act” he could change the election. I think if he plays it safe on immigration he loses the game. No Florida, Democrats win.
Question: What would you do if you were Mitt Romney?