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Why Isn’t Mitt Romney Up by Ten Points?

September 25th, 2012 - 6:33 am

That’s what Jonah Goldberg wants to know:

Notwithstanding the erosion in support, Obama remains tied with or slightly ahead of Romney in most polls. Yesterday’s Ohio Newspaper Association poll is typical. It shows Obama with a five-point lead in Ohio, despite a sizeable Romney advantage among independents. That pol , however, employed a voter sample that gave Democrats a six-point advantage over Republicans. In this regard, it is similar to most other major polls, which (as Da Tech Guy points out) average a 6–7 point Democratic advantage. Last week’s NBC/WSJ poll had a five-point Democrat advantage and had Obama up by five. Last week’s Washington Post poll of Virginia voters had a twelve-point Democratic advantage and Obama leading by eight.

But here’s the thing: The most recent Rasmussen party identification poll has Republicans with a 4.3 percentage point advantage over Democrats nationally. At the same point in the 2008 election cycle Democrats had a 5.7 percent advantage. That’s a 10 point swing, a swing that began to manifest itself in the 2010 midterms, when the Democrats’ advantage fell to just 1.2 points — and they suffered an epic blowout .

Romney also has one major drawback as the GOP standard-bearer. He’s always saying things like, “I believe in the free enterprise system,” or “I believe in America.” These are nice things to say, and I wouldn’t vote for a candidate who wouldn’t or couldn’t say them, or who sounds like he’s speaking a foreign language when he does say them.

(Cough, cough, Mr. President Empty Chair.)

What Romney doesn’t do is explain why he believes in America or free enterprise or much of anything at all. He’s reassured the base, mostly, but he doesn’t posses that sunny philosophical core like Reagan had, which allowed Reagan to make the sale to independents.

That’s why they called him The Great Communicator. Not because he could give a speech — but, boy, could he give a speech — but because at his center was a man who had done some very solid thinking over a number of years, and who could effortlessly impart the results and the process to his audience.

I suspect Romney hasn’t had to do a whole lot of philosophical soul-searching, having been raised as a decent and hardworking Mormon, and having lived his life as a decent and hardworking Mormon. Reagan started out as a Hollywood liberal, and had to work his ass (and brain) off to move himself to the right. It was those years of effort which allowed him to make it look so easy.

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