The Corner

The Horse Race

From CBS:

President Obama and Mitt Romney are effectively tied in the race for the presidency, according to a new CBS News/New York Times survey.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters nationwide who lean towards a candidate back Romney, while 46 percent support the president. Four percent are undecided. The 1 percentage point difference is within the survey’s three-point margin of error.

I think this is very good news for the Romney camp. To have caught the vaunted Obama machine this early in the race — at a time when, under ordinary circumstances, people would be on vacation, enjoying the summer — tells me, well . . . that these aren’t ordinary circumstances.

Let’s be frank: everybody who’s not a Media Matters hack or nonentity knows that the recession never really ended. That an un-American pall hangs over the land. That “fundamental change” didn’t just mean getting rid of Bush. That our republican form of government was ill prepared to encounter a man and a party for whom the rules do not apply. That the unchained beast known as the regulatory state could wreak such havoc in the smiling guise of “environmentalism.”

That the corruption of the media would be complete with a group of Obama aides (David Axelrod, Jay Carney) who are themselves former members of the media and retain their contacts and influence among reporters. Like the sainted Jake Lingle, they play both sides of the street, moving smoothly between the Chicago mob and the Washington corridors of power.

That a party with as sordid and morally disgraceful a history as the Democrats’ would finally drop its cloak of “compassion” and stand revealed, taunting its opponents and asking the suckers for four more years in which to finish the job. 

#more#Having dominated the print media (how many Obama magazine covers have there been?) and television, where the president is practically a recurring character in his own sitcom, the Obama forces should be miles ahead at this point in the campaign. And yet . . .

Both candidates have net unfavorable ratings. Forty-eight percent of registered voters view the president unfavorably, while 36 percent view him favorably. Romney is viewed unfavorably by 36 percent and favorably by 32 percent.

Take a look at those numbers: nearly half of registered voters admit to pollsters that they “view the president unfavorably,” and his favorable rating is only 36 percent — the same as Romney’s current “unfavorable” rating. But –

Nearly one in three say they do not yet have an opinion about the presumptive Republican nominee.

And this is after a barrage of attack ads and trash-talking by the president and his surrogates as they attempt to run the Axelrod playbook one last time and take Mitt out of the race (hence trying to paint him as a “felon”) before he can even get in it. 

The media likes to cover political races as if they were horse races. I wonder how many of today’s reporters have ever actually been to the track. Because if they have, they’d have learned one thing — the hard way — by now:

The sooner the horse coming from behind catches up to the front-runner, the larger his margin of victory is at the finish line:


And you can take that to the two-dollar window.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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