The Corner

Bad News and Semi-Good News for Romney

GOP angst about the presidential election stems not just from turmoil in the Romney campaign but from unrealistic expectations about the ease of defeating President Obama. Many Republicans think that Romney ought to be way ahead at this point. Their assumption is flawed.  A majority of forecasting models actually give a slight edge to the president, for reasons having little to do with the quality of the Romney campaign. Incumbent presidents can use their powers and perks to great advantage. If a party has held the White House for only one term, the “don’t change horses” mentality has some sway. A recent recession can overwhelm incumbency advantages, as it did in 1980. But the economy has been growing, if sluggishly, for three years. And although the unemployment rate is still too high, it is better than it was in late 2009. Life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable, said Woody Allen in Annie Hall, so be glad that you’re miserable. A significant share of the electorate seems to agree.

For Mitt Romney, there is bad news and semi-good news. The bad news is that he’s behind and has been making mistakes. The semi-good news is that he’s not doing worse than the fundamentals predict and that the president’s lead is modest. If Romney runs a stronger campaign in the weeks ahead, and if the president makes some mistakes of his own, then the contest will be a tossup.

Most Popular

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More

Why Trump’s Losing

President Trump pulled an inside straight to win in 2016, and now he needs another one. The good news for Trump is that his approval rating has stopped falling recently. The bad news is that it has stabilized in the low 40s. Election-watcher Harry Enten points out that no president since Harry Truman has won ... Read More
Elections

Ilhan Omar’s Got a Little Competition

Ilhan Omar, the Democratic U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, has been described as a “rising star” of the progressive movement and as President Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare.” So she surely did not expect to face much opposition during her reelection campaign. ... Read More
Elections

Ilhan Omar’s Got a Little Competition

Ilhan Omar, the Democratic U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, has been described as a “rising star” of the progressive movement and as President Donald Trump’s “worst nightmare.” So she surely did not expect to face much opposition during her reelection campaign. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Next?

Imagine this: You have a friend who has never saved a penny for his retirement. You ask him about it when he is in his twenties, and he says, “No problem — I’m going to win the lottery.” Years go by. You ask him about it in his thirties, in his forties, in his fifties, etc., and get the same answer. At ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Next?

Imagine this: You have a friend who has never saved a penny for his retirement. You ask him about it when he is in his twenties, and he says, “No problem — I’m going to win the lottery.” Years go by. You ask him about it in his thirties, in his forties, in his fifties, etc., and get the same answer. At ... Read More