Take a deep breath
From what I saw of the media’s disappointment in Obama’s debate performance, Andrew Sullivan’s live-blog panic was only surpassed by Chris Matthews’ stupefaction on MSNBC. Even though Sullivan is a conservative (of sorts), I do follow The Dish closely. He manages to lean socially liberal and fiscally conservative without being all Randian about it, and thinks Obama is his kind of Tory. Sullivan is a Brit transplant, so I presume he knows what that means.
Anyway, I thought he was getting over it, but with Did Obama Just Throw The Entire Election Away?, he clearly isn’t.
The Pew poll is devastating, just devastating. Before the debate, Obama had a 51 – 43 lead; now, Romney has a 49 – 45 lead. That’s a simply unprecedented reversal for a candidate in October. Before Obama had leads on every policy issue and personal characteristic; now Romney leads in all of them. Obama’s performance gave Romney a 12 point swing! I repeat: a 12 point swing. …
Look: I’m trying to rally some morale, but I’ve never seen a candidate this late in the game, so far ahead, just throw in the towel in the way Obama did last week – throw away almost every single advantage he had with voters and manage to enable his opponent to seem as if he cares about the middle class as much as Obama does. How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement? And after Romney’s convincing Etch-A-Sketch, convincing because Obama was incapable of exposing it, Romney is now the centrist candidate, even as he is running to head up the most radical party in the modern era.
And in Does Obama Want Out?, he’s speculating that maybe Obama doesn’t really want to be reelected.
That we are having this discussion at all reflects the enormity of Obama’s implosion. This race is now Romney’s to lose. Not just because Romney is shameless liar and opportunist. But because Obama just essentially forfeited the election. In the first match-up between the two candidates, one was a potential president; the other a dithering wonk. I’m still reeling. I’m sorry if these are not things an Obama supporter should say at this point. But the demoralization is profound.
Commenting on Articleman’s dismissal of Real Clear Politics, KRXAHal has a few doubts about Pew:
1) The Pew poll includes responses to calls made from Thursday (the day after the debate but before the employment report was release) through Sunday, whereas Rasmussen’s current poll, which finds the race tied, includes data compiled Friday-Sunday.
2) Perhaps more importantly, the Pew survey includes 36% Republicans and 31% Democrats whereas all the data I’ve seen shows that a plurality of Americans are Democrats. In the September Pew survey, which showed Obama up by 8, Pew sampled 29% Republicans and 39% Democrats. I cannot believe that there has been a net shift of the electorate 15 percentage points to the Republicans in one month and entirely based on one admittedly dismal Presidential debate performance.
A-Man notes that Pew is an outlier anyway. As a telephone survey, I would expect Pew to skew to the older voter. I wasn’t thrilled with the debate, but it was just one debate, and after the jobs report and all the fact-checking, I think the main effect will be to help Romney to continue to raise campaign funds. In short, anyone willing to swallow Romney’s lies was probably going to vote Romney anyway.