100 Day Sprint: A big night for Mitt Romney

Running out the clock? Barack Obama has a tough night against Mitt Romney. (Photo: Wikipedia)

So I’d say Mitt Romney got a head start on winning the final month of the campaign.  He has a ton of ground to make up, but if he pieces together a lot of performances like tonight, it’ll be competitive.

Romney was clearly having fun, making arguments with passion.  Even in the areas where his numbers will get a tough grade from the fact-checkers, he sounded plausible.

Obama, meanwhile, was running out the clock, trying to avoid major screw-ups, hoping not to appear arrogant.   But the key for a politician is to do those things without appearing to do this things, and hefailed.

Bottom line?  Romney came in hungry, prepared, energetic and he dominated.  Wake-up moment for Team Obama?  Turning point for Team Romney?

Romney will need to translate last night’s win into some clear momentum in states where he is now lagging by 5% or more.

Most important is Ohio where the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll has the Republican down 8% among likely voters.

Obama, meanwhile, has some days of damage control ahead, and I suspect that this time he won’t be able to rely on surrogates like Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama to lift the energy level of his campaign.

One final thought:  John Kerry used a big debate night in 2004 to lift himself into serious contention with George Bush.  Romney clearly hoped to do the same.

But as we’ve been reporting, the underlying structural dynamics of this race are very different.  In 2004, Kerry could count reliably on winning 250 electoral college votes.  His challenge was to close the deal in one or two additional states.

In 2012, Romney can only count with absolute certainty on between 180 and 191 electoral college votes.  Even North Carolina remains sort of squidgy (though after last night, I’m guessing it will drift further into Romney’s column).

So Romney has to make closing arguments over the next 30 days in at least a half dozen big and very different states where he currently trails.  Very difficult to do, but last night offered his supporters some hope that it might just be doable.

 

 

 

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139 Responses to “100 Day Sprint: A big night for Mitt Romney”

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  1. PNElba says:

    JDM – did you hear about the new employment figures? Just waiting now for more BLS truthers to appear. The figures must have been fudged. We need to get that car thief (Issa) to investigate.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. JDM says:

    PNElba:

    Oh yeah. It feels like 7.8% unemployment. No number fudging there.

    All the experts predicted it. They said 113,000 jobs. They said 8.2%…..

    Oh, wait.

    All the experts had it wrong. All the experts didn’t know that 113,000 equals 7.8%.

    All the experts didn’t get it right. How come?

    PNElba knows. It’s because 113,000 equals 8.2%, but 114,000 equals 7.8%.

    You must be right on this one.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  3. JDM says:

    Actually, I think only the true believers think that the unemployment numbers aren’t fudged.

    Obama is toast.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  4. Rancid Crabtree says:

    OA if my computer skills were better that first post would not have appeared and you have my apology for confusing people. I don’t know what light you saw but as my husband says, things aren’t always what they seem.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. PNElba says:

    Sorry JDM, I really didn’t understand your rant or your math. I guess the BLS could be lying but I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they only tell the truth when a Republican is president.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. Walker says:

    “nanana
    nanana
    hey ey ey
    Good bye!”

    No no no. It’s

    na na na na
    na na na na
    hey hey hey
    Goodbye!

    The party of No should never leave out an important pair of Nas.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  7. hermit thrush says:

    Actually, I think only the true believers think that the unemployment numbers aren’t fudged.

    that’s our jdm, throwing around wild accusations without a shred of evidence.

    if jdm was actually paying attention, he would know that the bls made significant upward revisions to some of the recent jobs numbers. that’s where the drop in the unemployment rate is coming from.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  8. Walker says:

    Saw a nice post on Facebook:

    “Expecting any minute now to hear a truly patriotic Republican, any Republican, to issue a statement saying today’s improved employment figures are great news for the people of America.”

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. hermit thrush says:

    what krugman says:

    For the record, it’s ridiculous to imagine that the Obama administration could arrange (on short notice, no less) to cook the jobs numbers. The sheer logistics would be impossible, plus these are civil servants who have to live under both parties.

    The thing is, although such antics are funny in a way, they’re also menacing. By attacking anyone who presents awkward facts, the right exerts an intimidating effect. It won’t get the BLS to retract today’s jobs report, but it might bully news organizations into avoiding objective economic analysis, and maybe even into blurring their reporting right now.

    So this is crazy and stupid; but it’s also scary.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  10. PNElba says:

    Obama is bad for the economy so it’s a given that the unemployment statistics have got to be doctored.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. JDM says:

    Even if you believe the numbers, there was a jump of 582,000 part-time workers.

    Looks like Obamaland is going to be the land of no benefits.

    Meanwhile, Romney now leads in the polls in Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.

    No fudging there.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  12. hermit thrush says:

    i need to clarify the second part of my 12:47 comment. the unemployment rate is calculated from a different survey than the one that produces the top-line jobs numbers. the revisions i referred to were to these latter numbers, and therefore don’t figure directly in the calculation of the unemployment rate. what you can say is that these revisions are consistent with an improving unemployment rate.

    ezra klein has a good post up about bls conspiracy theories.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. hermit thrush says:

    via ezra, here’s labor economist betsey stevenson:

    Anyone who thinks that political folks can manipulate the unempt data are completely ignorant about how BLS works & how data are compiled.

    sounds about right.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  14. PNElba says:

    The Earth is 6000 years old
    Evolution is just a theory
    Climate change is a hoax
    The BLS fixes their unemployment figures
    Mitt Romney is ahead in the polls (which are inflated…unless you are Mitt Romney)

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  15. Larry says:

    It’s not unqualified good news, especially if you factor in discouraged job seekers, frustrated part-timers and low-end service jobs, but it doesn’t completely suck either. Progress, however small, is still progress. That said, let’s not get all giddy either way. It’s early days yet.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  16. PNElba says:

    It certainly isn’t unqualified good news. The BLS can still revise the unemployment numbers and I’ve read that they can even revise them years later. Seems strange, but to imply a conspiracy theory is a bit strange. I’m willing to take the BLS, OMB, or reports from any government department as honest whether it’s a Republican or Democrat holding the Presidency. At least until proven otherwise.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  17. Mervel says:

    Politically its good news for Obama. This is the last employment report before the election. 7.8% is not great but it is better than 9.5%.

    The numbers from BLS have always been off for a variety of technical reasons largely dealing with how we count the unemployed and underemployed. However it does provide a baseline for looking at changes.
    I also think it has a public appeal in that we all look at that one number as a barometer of the economy and when it comes to the economy how people feel about the economy does make a difference.

    Has anyone done the electoral math again? Brian had posted a thread some time back that showed basically Romney has to win not only Ohio but ALL of the major swing states to win the electoral vote and the presidency. Has this changed?

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Mervel says:

    However for the sake of pure excitement I am glad Romney did well the other night! However we have some debates left and we have foreign policy coming up, which is this administrations strong point.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  19. JDM says:

    mervel: “Romney has to win not only Ohio but ALL of the major swing states to win the electoral vote and the presidency. Has this changed?”

    Yeah. He’s got Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. Probably by implication North Carolina.

    If gas prices keep going up, he’ll have California next week.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  20. hermit thrush says:

    i don’t know what jdm needs more, some pom poms or a tinfoil hat.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  21. hermit thrush says:

    not to spoil jdm’s fun, but today’s gallup tracker has obama up by 5 (+1 compared to yesterday), and rasmussen has him up by 2 (the same as yesterday). and who knows, maybe those will change in the coming days! but, you know, a real conservative might take more of a wait-and-see attitude, rather than declaring the race already over.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  22. Walker says:

    Yeah, but hermit, those poll numbers are all cooked.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  23. mervel says:

    JDM,

    Yeah well if he has got Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina, I think he may have it!

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Hey Rancid, I think that was me you are talking about not OA.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    To paraphrase Mitt Romney, it was an inelegant comparison. I write a lot of things and sometimes I make a mistake.

    So if you accept that from Romney you should accept it from me too. Not to mention that I apologized on this blog. Twice. Three times if you consider Mitt’s statement an apology.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  26. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Has anyone noticed that people can call me all kinds of reprehensible things (or things they consider to be reprehensible) like a socialist, or a communist, or a Stalin sympathizer, or a terrorist sympathizer?

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  27. dbw says:

    Mervel -

    Realclearpolitics.com has lots of electoral college info on its site under polls. In addition to a electoral college map there is also a link for the battle ground states. They list all the individual polls and calculate an average. For example, the polls JDM mentioned are listed and averaged with other polls from the last few days. The averages favor Obama in Florida by .4%, Romney in North Carolina by .8% and Obama by 3% in Ohio. It will be Monday or Tuesday before there is a clearer picture of the impact of the debate. Hermit thrush did a good job of summarizing the horse race numbers. Gallup also shows a spike in the President’s favorable ratings since the debate. The Reuters poll found the President’s favorable rating among Independents increased 8% since the debate.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  28. mervel says:

    Thanks.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. oa says:

    Thank you, Rancid. I’d appreciate it if you’d take back the other post, too, which still implicates me as the shooter-comparer, just in fuzzier prose. We now know who the real shooter-comparer is: KHL, this blog’s version of Roger McDowell.
    KHL confessed, and apologized.
    But we both know he supports a president who is out to undermine America.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  30. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Just to be clear OA, my comparison was never intended to be about Brievik’s acts. And as I have stated here several times in the past I think the Tea Party is correct in its assessment of many of the problems that we have to deal with. I disagree with many of their proposed solutions.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  31. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    And sticks and stones may break my bones but Roger McDowell, OUCH!

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  32. mervel says:

    The Tea Party has turned out to be very bad for the Conservative movement in general and the Republican Party in particular.

    We have a conservative party called the Constitutional Party that takes up many of the issues these tea party types seem to care about. But the impact on Republicans at the local level in states where Republicans matter has been horrible.

    Just to sit there collecting social security or medicare or to make your money or pension from the government as as good portion of these tea party guys seem to and scream about the government and the debt is insane and annoying. Also the anti-immigration rhetoric its just over the top.

    Anyway I have come around as someone who holds pretty conservative views on a variety of issues; to really not like them.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  33. JDM says:

    uh O.

    Romney ahead in Colorado.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Walker says:

    Uh Oh!

    Obama: 251
    Romney: 181

    (RCP)

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  35. Walker says:

    “The Tea Party has turned out to be very bad for the Conservative movement in general and the Republican Party in particular.”

    Yes, it turns out that extremism in defense of liberty is a vice (at least when it’s largely an astro-turf movement funded by billionaires hoping to see their taxes lowered by voters too dumb to know that Social Security and Medicare are government programs).

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  36. mervel says:

    I don’t see it as funded by billionaires. In fact the Demo’s are funded by billionaires also, Wall Street Supports the Democrats we should not forget that, it has paid off for them. It paid off in the real estate boom-bust largely caused by wall street and funded by Democratic support for the Freddie/Fannie scam; the clearing house for the toxic real estate loans and cemented by the so called banking reform passed under Obama which enshrines the large banks into a too big to fail permanent government bailout promise. Not one law suite until just now about this whole scam about this whole mess, not one federal prosecution, why? Why do the Democrats not want to push punishment for the power structures that certainly committed massive fraud?

    So we will see. The true conservative movement will survive our constitution and our liberty will face many challenges over the next 20 years, it faces challenges now with attacks on the first Amendment.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  37. JDM says:

    Uh Oh!

    Obama: 251
    Romney: 181

    Obama down from 261, and falling fast!

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. Walker says:

    “Obama down from 261, and falling fast!”

    Nah, it’s just that Ohio keeps flitting back and forth between “toss up” and “leans Obama.” It’s the same as Missouri going from “leans Romney” to “toss up” on 10/2, taking him from 191 to 181.

    If you want to try reading trends, back in the first week in September Obama was leading Romney by 30; now he’s up by 70.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  39. PNElba says:

    Looks like the polls are no longer “cooked”.

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