Is it Romney's race to win?

Rick Moran
Jay Cost, one of the best political analysts around, thinks so:

Slowly but surely, the party rebuilt itself into the coalition we know today - dominated by racial and ethnic minorities, upscale white liberals (especially activist groups like the environmentalists and feminists), government workers, and young voters. It was in the 1988 election that we saw the party coming back from the brink, and every cycle since then the Democrats have enjoyed a floor of about 46 percent of the vote, built around roughly 90 percent of Democratic support, 40 percent of independent support, and 10 percent of Republican support.

If you look carefully at the national horserace polls, you will notice that these are the only people supporting Obama over Romney, more or less. And if you look carefully at the presidential job approval polls, you will notice that these are also the only people approving of his job performance, more or less.

In other words, Obama's polling right now suggests that he has only locked down the core Democratic vote; what's more, those not currently in his voting coalition tend to disapprove of his job as president. Indeed, the Gallup job approval poll finds him with just 31 percent support from "pure" independents, i.e. those with no party affiliation whatsoever.

It is extraordinarily difficult for incumbent presidents to win the votes of people who disapprove of the job they are doing. Hence, this race is Romney's to win.

But it is not his to lose. And that's an important distinction.

Jay has it about right. But Romney's problem is that he, too, has pretty much only locked up his base. With each side polling about 40% of independent support, that last 20% is what all the fuss will be about after the conventions.

About the only people who haven't made up their minds are low information independents who rarely watch the news and get a lot of their information from people like Jon Stewart and the entertainment industry shows. This will heighten the importance of the debates where Romney will have to ambush Obama by keeping the topic squarely on the horrible economy.

If he can do that, it will certainly be Romney's race to win.


Jay Cost, one of the best political analysts around, thinks so:

Slowly but surely, the party rebuilt itself into the coalition we know today - dominated by racial and ethnic minorities, upscale white liberals (especially activist groups like the environmentalists and feminists), government workers, and young voters. It was in the 1988 election that we saw the party coming back from the brink, and every cycle since then the Democrats have enjoyed a floor of about 46 percent of the vote, built around roughly 90 percent of Democratic support, 40 percent of independent support, and 10 percent of Republican support.

If you look carefully at the national horserace polls, you will notice that these are the only people supporting Obama over Romney, more or less. And if you look carefully at the presidential job approval polls, you will notice that these are also the only people approving of his job performance, more or less.

In other words, Obama's polling right now suggests that he has only locked down the core Democratic vote; what's more, those not currently in his voting coalition tend to disapprove of his job as president. Indeed, the Gallup job approval poll finds him with just 31 percent support from "pure" independents, i.e. those with no party affiliation whatsoever.

It is extraordinarily difficult for incumbent presidents to win the votes of people who disapprove of the job they are doing. Hence, this race is Romney's to win.

But it is not his to lose. And that's an important distinction.

Jay has it about right. But Romney's problem is that he, too, has pretty much only locked up his base. With each side polling about 40% of independent support, that last 20% is what all the fuss will be about after the conventions.

About the only people who haven't made up their minds are low information independents who rarely watch the news and get a lot of their information from people like Jon Stewart and the entertainment industry shows. This will heighten the importance of the debates where Romney will have to ambush Obama by keeping the topic squarely on the horrible economy.

If he can do that, it will certainly be Romney's race to win.