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Is Mitt Romney Really Slipping Behind in the Presidential Race?

Posted on the 25 September 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Who's ahead in the polls, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama? Going down? Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Photo credit: Maria Dryfhout /

The background

With the first presidential debate just a few weeks away, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has endured a gruelling few weeks in the headlines. A left-leaning website leaked video footage of the former Massachusetts governor  referring to 47 percent of Americans as government-dependent victims – not necessarily the best way to win over those all-important independent voters.

But just how bad are things looking for the GOP hopeful? A recent slew of polls have revealed mixed results, with some putting Romney neck-and-neck with Democrat incumbent Barack Obama, while others claim the president has moved out in front.

Polls pointing to Obama win

“All the reliable national polls now show Mr. Obama ahead, and in two cases substantially so — beyond the margin of error. A variety of polls also shows Mr. Obama with growing leads in most of the important swing states,” said a New York Times editorial. “Mr. Romney is free to pursue this shallow, cavalier campaign for six more weeks, but he shouldn’t be surprised if voters increasingly choose not to pay attention.”

Despite polls, Romney resurgence is still possible

Writing for Al Jazeera, Robert Reich pointed to a Pew Research Center poll that put Obama ahead of Romney by 51 percent to 43 percent, before the leak of Romney’s 47 percent comments: “That’s the biggest margin in the September survey prior to a presidential election since Bill Clinton led Bob Dole, 50 per cent to 38 per cent in 1996. And, remember, this recent poll was done before America watched Romney belittle almost half the nation.” But, said Reich, the polls don’t tell the whole story: there are two upcoming employment reports that may well damage Obama if they show further economic gloom, there are still three debates coming up, and the Republicans will go on a massive spending spree ahead of election day. “The race is still close enough that a comparative handful of voters in swing states can make the difference – which means gobs of money used to motivate voters to polling stations can be critical,” Reich wrote.

Romney gaffes haven’t affected polling

The mainstream media has made much of Romney’s gaffes, said Janet Daley in The Telegraph, in particular the leaked comments. But what difference has this really made to voters? “Not only is the national vote still split pretty much down the middle, but when Gallup asked voters specifically about Mr Romney’s “47 per cent” comments, 36 per cent said they would make them less likely to vote for him, 20 per cent said they would make them more likely to vote for him, and 43 per cent said they would make no difference at all.”

At a Beverley Hills fundraiser, Mitt Romney expressed surprise that you can’t open the windows on airplanes. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go… and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous,” the GOP hopeful said, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Pundits overlooking ‘decisive’ poll

Amid all the contradictory polls, one “unheralded” survey stands out that may prove decisive, wrote Michael Medved at The Daily Beast: “A Sept. 17 Gallup poll shows a commanding majority of Americans reject Barack Obama’s pitch that the people need a more activist government to solve the nation’s problems. By a margin of more than 2 to 1, the crucial independent voters say the government already tries to do too much.” This points to a major problem with the Obama campaign’s problem-solving rhetoric: “Doesn’t a president offering to ‘solve the nation’s problems’ pledge precisely the sort of larger government role that most people—and huge majorities of independent voters—emphatically reject?” What Romney needs to do now is exploit this antipathy towards big government.

More on the US election

  • The US election according to Google auto-complete
  • Mitt Romney in ‘victims’ gaffe
  • Does Romney still stand a chance?

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