I think a quick recap is in order since the last time I wrote something on here. Thankfully, with my first major round of exams behind me, I have a chance to give just that.
The current state of the race: Romney’s losing pretty badly. Sorry all you Republicans out there who are starting to rely on weird, alternate universe polls like unskewedpolls.com, the data on legitimate sites like Gallup and RealClearPolitics is accurate. Especially worrisome: our man’s losing pretty badly in the swing states.
But lest I jump overboard off the SS Romney, let me issue a memo to all my liberal readers as well: Obama’s lead in the polls is much higher than it will be a few weeks from now (as long as nothing monumental happens tonight at nine when the first debate segment kicks off). Why? Because, as a number of conservative pundits have pointed out, very little in this election has changed. Has Romney chased after some shiny objects (think Libya) lately? Yes. Does Romney’s team need to rediscover the message discipline that got it through the primaries? You betcha. But have the fundamentals of this election changed? Not really.
Issue number one is still the economy. On that question, Obama and Romney run close to tied in nearly every poll. Romney leads Obama among independents by a five to ten point margin, and the national polls are still competitive. Romney really does need to be worried about the swing state polls though. He’s bleeding in Ohio pretty badly (down about 6 points). If Obama puts Ohio away, Romney has to run the table on the remaining swing states to make it to 270, and that simply won’t happen. Obama’s also opening up an alternative path to 270 that involves Wisconsin.
So with that backdrop in mind, here are a few quick hits on tonight’s debate (which you can catch on CNN at 9 pm EST):
- If Romney and Obama tie, the victory goes to Obama because he’s ahead.
- Romney needs to shun his “vulture capitalist” caricature and make some news at the same time. If I were him, I’d announce tonight that I would not accept the presidential salary (about $400k) if elected.
- I would also release the last 10 years of my tax returns tonight. At this point that might not be politically feasible though.
- If I were Obama, I’d try to catch Romney in some flip-flop moments. Romney fears those the most.
- Romney should continue his “in sorrow, not in anger” approach – he needs to keep peeling away swing voters and that seemed to work well at the convention.
Keep that list in mind when you watch the debate. In the past Romney’s been gloves-off, and Obama certainly has a way with words. No matter who wins, we’ll be sure to get something to talk about tomorrow.
Follow @DYNAMO_politics tonight to get live commentary on the debates – the power of democracy is literally in your hands (sorta… if you have a smartphone)!