The Corner

‘When Hell Freezes Over’

Neil Newhouse, the pollster for the Romney campaign, spoke with National Review Online this morning about the state of play in Ohio and the Obama bounce.

Costa: What’s your take on the Obama bounce?

Newhouse: You’re already seeing the bounce fading away. I don’t think there is much question about that. The bounce is melting. You see it in the Rasmussen data and we are seeing it in our own data. He got a nice little sugar high from the Bill Clinton speech and from the Democratic convention, and it’s beginning to fade.

 

costa: Should conservatives look at the latest Rasmussen poll and the ABC News/Washington Post poll and conclude that this race is effectively tied?

Newhouse: I think once we get past this week, you’re going to see the same tightness and the same dead heat, similar to how we went into the conventions. We’ll come out of convention season the same way we went into it.

 

Costa: What’s the story in Oho? Obama has a three-point lead in the Real Clear Politics poll average, and according to Public Policy Polling, he’s up by five.

Newhouse: Ohio is going to be a very tight race. There has been some stuff written about us pulling out of the race there, or something like that. My response: When hell freezes over. We feel confident that we’re going to win the state. Make no mistake, it’s tough sledding, and we understand that it’ll be a challenge. It’s a difficult state for us. But we pull out when hell freezes over.#more#

 

Costa: From your perspective, what are Romney’s strengths in the state?

Newhouse: It’s not just about our strengths; it’s about Obama’s weakness. Obama is trying to take credit for Governor Kasich’s success, and that just doesn’t cut it.

 

Costa: What about Kasich’s low approval numbers? They’re at 41 percent in the latest PPP poll.

Newhouse: Quit looking just at PPP. If you look at the Quinnipiac poll and other stuff, he’s basically at 50 percent. What you see is the mood of the voters, about the direction of the state, is quite positive. And John’s numbers have improved significantly. It’s his policy. If it were President Obama’s policies that were making a difference in Ohio, then why hasn’t the rest of the country moved accordingly? You can pinpoint pretty clearly in Ohio that it’s what Kasich has done that has improved the economic climate in that state.

 

Costa: If you look at the Real Clear Politics average in Ohio, you’ll see that Romney has never reached 50 percent in any Ohio poll. Does he have a ceiling there in the high 40s?

Newhouse: We’re the challenger and it’s a swing state. I don’t think you’re going to expect us to hit 50 percent in any of this polling. The number you have to look at is how Obama has never broken 50 percent. That’s more of an indictment of his presidency and his record than anything it says about Mitt Romney.

 

Costa: Moving forward, what’s your outlook on Ohio?

Newhouse: We have one of the strongest ground operations in the country in Ohio. The state party is strong there under Chairman [Robert] Bennett. We’ve got a good cast of congressional candidates in the state and incumbents who are going to run very good campaigns.

This is already a very tight election in the state. We feel good. If you look at the PPP numbers, you’ve got to remember that they polled on the heels of the Democratic convention, and showed their guy up by five points. Nationally, Obama got a three-point bump. So, if he also got a three-point bump in Ohio that puts the race within a couple of points. If the best they can do is five points after their convention, where they got a national bump of three, we feel that this is easily within the margin-of-error, and we’ve got eight weeks to go, which is several political lifetimes.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More