The Campaign Spot

Too Much Gloom Around Romney?

Campaign Spot reader Doug thinks there’s too much talk of gloom around Romney.

The death of Romney’s run is being greatly exaggerated. Since “losing” NH by placing second within 5pts, Gov. Mitt finds himself in a 3way tie nationwide with the McCain/Huckabee combine.
The three are within 2pts of each other in the Rasmussen Poll this morning. Also noteworthy, there is no national bounce for “I did it for patriotism” McCain. Mitt’s share has actually gone up 8pts since his commanding performance on Sunday and the support he is getting on talk radio (disguised as generic conservative support).


Why are we calling for him to drop out, when Rudy is broke and was unable to compete with the rest of the field?


Stop predicting his demise and let’s let the game play out.

Romney may yet go on to win this. A poll that has him down 1 point to Huckabee in Michigan has a margin of error of 5.8 percent. (One that had him 9 percent behind McCain had a margin of error of 4 percent.)
But a couple of points, starting with the fact that the scare quotes around “loss” have to be dropped. A five point loss when you spent $7 million in the state and led the polls from May to mid-December is a real loss.
Secondly, a lead, or near-lead, in the national polls is indeed nice. But Romney needs it to translate into actual wins in states. I would also note that the Rasmussen daily tracking poll has quite a bit of volatility, (not Rasmussen’s fault, just normal for day-to-day sample variance) and so I try to be cautious in thinking that what it shows today will be there tomorrow.
For example, four days ago, Romney was in fourth place with 15 percent. Giuliani was in third place with 17 percent. McCain’s at 22 percent today, and was at 18 percent  yesterday. Five days ago, Thompson was six points off the leaders McCain and Huckabee.
Thirdly, yes, there’s no national bounce for McCain. There also wasn’t much of a national bounce for Huckabee. In fact, if you look at the Rasmussen daily tracking poll, nobody’s getting long-lasting national bounces. Giuliani’s ranged from 19 percent to 9 percent since December 28. Huckabee’s ranged from 16 to 22 percent. Romney, 13 percent to 20 percent. McCain, 14 percent to 22 percent.
I think we can conclude that in this cycle, winning early primary states no longer automatically gives a candidate a burst nationwide.

Fourth, nobody’s calling for him to drop out, or at least I’m not. It’s his campaign, and his money, and he can stay in as long as he likes. But when he puts enormous resources into Iowa and comes in second, puts enormous resources in New Hampshire and comes in second, and if he follows it up by putting enormous resources in Michigan and doesn’t win… to see Romney winning subsequent states, you have to believe he’s somehow going to get a burst of momentum and a surge in the polls from coming in second again. Generally, quite the opposite happens. Winning tends to beget winning, and losing tends to beget losing.

Fifth, Giuliani has $7 million cash on hand for the primary. We can argue whether that’s enough, particularly when he’s competing in expensive states, but that’s a long way from “broke.”

As for “predicting his demise,” look, all of these guys except one are walking away finishing lower than they had hoped. Romney’s in a tough spot, and unlike when McCain was imploding in the summer, he’s got less time to fix it.


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