Politics: Romney pollster: Hey, Carter led Reagan at this point too

Published by: Dan Calabrese on Monday September 10th, 2012

Dan Calabrese

By DAN CALABRESE - How is Obama winning? Romney's pollster suggests everyone stop freaking out about it.

I have to admit the movement in the polls the past few days has me befuddled. Obama's acceptance speech was so bad that even lefty commentators (save for the most deeply in-the-tank like Joe Trippi) couldn't generate any enthusiasm. Then came the August jobs report, which was a river of crap. Economically and fiscally, we're as steadily on the way to hell in a handbasket as we've ever been. Yet Obama picks up a couple of points in the polls?

I don't get it. What exactly gave rise to any sort of bounce? Was Clinton really that convincing? Did independents get inspired to pump their fists and channel Linda Blair like Jennifer Granholm? It's surreal.

So in the midst of all this, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse tells everyone to calm down.

He goes on at length about how bad the economy is, and that's undeniable, but it merely begs the question of why Romney's not pushing a 10-point lead. Newhouse points out that the battleground map has actually expanded, with heretofore blue states like Wisconsin and New Mexico looking to be in play. And of course, he reminds us that at this point in 1980, Carter had a double-digit lead over Reagan. True dat. The electorate gave Jimmeh every chance to make the case for himself, then decided at the end that there simply wasn't one to be made.

The most crucial data point in this, as the boss just pointed out to me, is that Romney still leads Obama 51-45 on the economy. Yeah. But how is that only six points? Is it just that there are so many low-information voters out there, who really don't understand just how badly Obama has bungled things? Or is Newhouse right that this is a momentary thing that will dissipate before we know it?

I don't know if it's Newhouse or a different advisor, but over at National Review, Rich Lowry's quoting (in extensive detail) a Romney advisor who declares plainly that the polls are horseshit, and, "Nobody in Boston thinks we're going to lose."

Well. I'm glad they're so confident. I'm trying to get there.