As I write this blog, there are 47 days to Election Day, and most polls show Mr. Obama slightly ahead of Mr. Romney, although within the margin of error. I know that history is full of examples of big comebacks in the last few weeks before Election Day, (Harry Truman and Ronald Regan come to mind), and some analysts have questioned the validity of some of the polls, but, that said, Romney’s situation is puzzling at the very least if not downright troubling.
The issues are all on the side of Romney and the GOP. Some examples: (1) A deep recession with no end in sight; (2) over 8% unemployment with an equal amount of people underemployed and a goodly number of people who have given up and left the workforce; (3) a $16 trillion debt, which increases minute to minute, and no plan to repay it; (4) a nuclear threat in Iran; (5) widespread violence in the Middle East, including an assassinated ambassador; and (6) general disrespect throughout the world. Clearly, Mr. Obama has been “in over his head” and needs to be replaced.
Why, then, do the polls show what they show ? I believe:
1. Mr. Romney’s campaign strategy has been too benign. He needs to attack Mr. Obama’s record forcefully, particularly the economy.
2. Mr. Obama is very likeable; Mr. Romney is not. This is just their respective personalities , and it is very difficult to change. Mr. Obama is the kind of guy one would like to hang out with for a weekend, maybe have a few beers, tell a few jokes, just not as President. That does not mean Mr. Romney cannot win. After all, few people were as disliked as the late Richard Nixon, even before Watergate.
3. When you see Mr. Obama on the campaign trail you realize that he is better at running for office than in performing the job once he has won it. That was how he fooled the majority of us in 2008. He ran one of the best campaigns I can remember, but he has been one of the worst presidents I can remember. So far, Mr. Romney has not been able to match him as a campaigner, but I think he will make a better president. I also think Mr. Obama will prove to be the better debater.
Mr. Romney still has time to turn this around in the next 47 days. For the sake of the country let’s hope he does so.