Posted on July 27 2012 – 10:00 PM – Posted by: Doug Brady
A month ago, I suggested that the punditry’s coverage of the presidential race might indicate a case of collective histrionic personality disorder. Its reaction to President Obama’s June spending push hasn’t improved the prognosis. In the course of a few weeks, the narrative has shifted from one where it was time for the Democrats to panic to one where Mitt Romney’s “Death Star” had curiously disappeared to another where Romney is supposed to panic.
What do the facts actually show? We know that Obama heavily outspent Romney in June, in part because the Romney campaign can’t yet spend funds earmarked for the general election. We know that these ads have focused incessantly on the presumptive GOP nominee’s experience at Bain Capital, and that they are quite good. We know that the media has piled on, with questions about when Romney’s tenure at Bain ended and why he refuses to provide the traditional number of income tax returns. And we know that the president leads Romney in the RCP Averages, both nationally and in most of the swing states.
But where is the evidence that anything has changed, outside of the media narrative? PrioritiesUSA, the Obama campaign’s super PAC, suggests this as the key finding: “37% of voters say that Romney’s business experience at Bain Capital make them LESS likely to vote for him. Just 27% say it makes them MORE likely to vote for him.”
But another way of reporting this information would be to say that, after a seven- to eight-figure ad blitz aimed at convincing voters that Romney is a cross between the buffoonish Thurston Howell III and the rapacious Gordon Gekko, 63 percent of voters either find Romney’s business experience irrelevant or say it makes them more likely to vote for him. (Of course, it also matters how those 37 percent are distributed. If the bulk of those who find Romney’s business experience unpalatable are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, then this isn’t much of a problem for the Republican’s campaign.)
Regardless, with Romney trailing, this is merely more of the same. We haven’t really seen any movement in the RCP Average since the GOP primary race ended in early May: The president has held a steady lead of one to three points.