Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Should Romney Do?

Romney has edged a smidge higher heading into the debate. He's still behind by more than he was before the conventions. And, despite what you hear from Republicans who think the polls are skewed, Romney was already behind before the conventions. Here's the full picture:

The last time Romney led in ANY national poll was back in mid-September in a Rasmussen poll. The last non-Rasmussen national poll where Romney led was in early September (ARG). Romney hasn't been even in the rolling average of polls since May, while he was enjoying his post-nomination "glow."

The structure of the race has been remarkably stable. The odds are that the structure of the race does not change after tonight.

So, how would I advise Romney were I to advise him? Some argue that the description of the data above is what is leading Romney's advisors to tell him to "go big or go home." They are supposedly prepping him with "zingers" and generally, the media is arguing this is Romney's "last, best chance." This is all wrong.

My advice to Romney would flow from this simple, yet harsh, observation. Mitt, the more people see of you, the less they like you. Romney's best bet is to fade into the background and let the election be about Obama. People are dissatisfied with the direction of the country and with Washington in general. Let the campaign be about that. What this means for the debate is that Romney would be smart to be who he is: boring, non-memorable, vague on policy details, etc.

This is the opposite of what we're seeing Romney's advisors say he'll do. But I think it is right. Now, don't get me wrong. This strategy does not guarantee a Romney win by any means. It is simply the best of the bad options in front of Romney right now. He needs to get out of his own way and let Obama sink or swim on the perceptions voters have of him and the direction of the country.

I'll send you a bill in the mail Mitt.

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