I saw Bob Shrum on TV on Friday, quoting a Republican friend who was telling him what Romney’s real problem is: It’s not that voters don’t like him, it’s that they think he doesn’t like them.
I suspect that Shrum’s friend is on to something. And it points to why I think Romney still has a fair chance of winning this election. Voters, in general, don’t hate Mitt Romney, but they have seen things going so badly for him of late that they are tempted to write him off as a “stiff” or a “loser” – insert your own favorite among the many insults that manage to attach themselves to someone who comes in second in an election. So think of how low the bar is now set for the debates: All Romney has to do is come across as an ordinary, likable, decent guy — no rhetorical theatrics or knockout blows required — and voters will say, “Geez, he doesn’t seem that bad.” And Romney will have won himself a second look, and thus a second chance to make voters look at President Obama’s record. If voters do indeed take that second, more serious look at Obama’s record (need I remind people that it has not been a stellar one?) — who wins the election then?
I’m not in the predictions business. This election could still end up being tight, or it could be a landslide for one side or the other. But I do know there’s a ways to go yet.