I’m amazed how many of my progressive friends seem quite confident Obama will win in November. My clearest memory from the political science courses I took at Oberlin in the early 80’s was that the overwhelming determinant of presidential elections was how folks were feeling about the economy (basically, are they worried, or hopeful?). If you are following all this other bullshit, like the constant hype over each candidate’s gaffes, then you’re living in a pundit-driven echo chamber.
The too-busy-and-too-cynical-for-politics independents that will decide this election will look at their choices about a week before the election, and they’ll be worried and frustrated enough to think “this isn’t working, let’s let the other guy have a go at it.” That’s assuming the “other guy” doesn’t scare them, and you can bet good money that Romney’s campaign will do a decent job of making him look like a dull but safe choice from now until election day (including a very safe VP pick).
Here’s a graph averaging all the recent polls. None of Romney’s gaffes matter. Same goes for his refusal to release tax returns (I’m afraid he’s going to get away with this stunning lack of transparency). We’ve had a terrible month of bad economic news (Europe crashing, China slowing, corporate earnings, domestic economic reports, and a volatile stock market), and that’s what’s moved this graph.
I’m scared to death of a Romney presidency, and plan on fighting like hell to prevent it. But the complacency on the left has me quite worried. They haven’t figured out that Obama is the underdog in this race.