The Problems Romney Has To Overcome In The Debate

The Presidential debate is on October 3′rd, and Scott Erb has a good breakdown of what each candidate needs to accomplish in the debate, as well as what pitfalls could await them.  While Romney is behind in the polls, some show a tightening of the race this week, although as Smartypants points out, national vote percentages don’t translate into Electoral College votes.    While Romney has had, by any measure, a very bad month, he can use his performance in the debates to help him turn it around.  Today, I saw some results from Pew Research which tells me he has a very hard road ahead to do it.

The first is “how well does the candidate connect with ordinary Americans.”

Voters think Obama connects more than Romney

Voters View Obama as Candidate Who Connects With Ordinary Americans

Look at those figures again.  Even in the former Republican strong point of foreign policy, Obama has a solid lead.   Romney also has some other issues.  First, his “favorable/unfavorable” is in negative territory.  More people have an unfavorable opinion of him than a favorable one.

Romney’s Unfavorable Rating Stands Out

No other candidate, at least back to 1988, has had a “net negative” at this point in the race.  In addition to that, his supporters aren’t supporting him as strongly or enthusiastically  as Obama’s, and of his support, most are voting against Obama instead of for him.

All of these are things that Romney has to try to change in the debate.  It’s not just “I landed some zingers,”  or being declared “the winner” by the media.   Those won’t really help him much,  barring any major meltdown by the President.  He also has to show that he can connect with ordinary people, that he can be trusted on foreign policy, and is a strong leader.  He has to get people to view him favorably, as well as getting people to vote for him instead of against the President.

It’s a very tough road ahead of him on those fronts.  Based on his performance so far in this campaign, I don’t think he can do it.  The best he can hope for is make them a little better, and not make them worse.

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “The Problems Romney Has To Overcome In The Debate

  1. sidney18511

    We all know that the rightwings are going to fawn over Romney no matter how weird he comes across.

    • I think the right wing media will do their usual fawning, but what Pew is seeing in the enthusiasm and why his voters are voting for him shows that any “fawning” is going to be limited to the media. He hasn’t been lighting any fires on the conservative side.

  2. In my red district (in a generally blue area) I see several signs for Republican candidates for House, Senate, state lege., and city council, but none at all for Willard Romney. Only i bumper sticker’; a rather small one that just says ‘Mitt’. I think they aren’t too crazy about him, and I live in a pretty well-off area. Mostly I see yard signs for PResident Obama.

    • I see the same thing here. 2008, there were tons of McCain bumper stickers around. This year, I have yet to see a Romney sticker.

      • I’m in what’s considered a conservative area, and so far I’ve only seen TWO Romney/Ryan bumper stickers on cars in town. On the other hand, I’ve seen seven Obama/Biden bumper stickers on cars in town. That says something.

  3. I’m still struggling to figure out why anyone believes that Romney would bring jobs to this country. The man was a corporate raider. He went in, took over businesses, put them into a lot of debt and used the debt to reward himself and his cronies. He sent jobs overseas. Am I missing some part where the man built a business, hired thousands and then walked away leaving it intact?

  4. Vic78

    Rick Perry made him lose his cool. What does he think the president’s going to do? Work on zingers? A high school debate coach would get fired for such bullshit. What the hell is a Harvard trained politician doing talking about zingers? Romney’s in a lot of trouble. How does one defend a 20% across the board tax break without sounding like an idiot? All I can say is I’m glad I’m not him. So was Obama St Francis or Thoreau in his past life? He has a lot of good karma.

    • Mitt’s biggest problem is that he still acts like a CEO, as in “I am not to be questioned.” He’s never seemed to make the leap to “asking” and “listening” from that. A politician has to, and he’s been pretty lousy at it. Despite his preparation – Portman has apparently been hammering at him badly in practice – the reality of facing the President is going to irk him on some levels. ;-)

      • sidney18511

        Voting for the vulture and the voucher is no different then buying a scratch off lottery ticket. After you buy it…you have no idea what your going to get.

  5. aquagranny911

    Kiddo, when AZ starts to look like a toss up for the GOP then they know they are in trouble. I don’t think the race is “tightening” at all unless it is more moving to the Prez.

    I’m trying to not be complacent but PBO has this. The only people voting for Mitty are the bigots & the ricos plus a few brain dead Fox viewers. Thankfully we out number them. The big deal left is GOTV & getting more Dem butts in Congress & saving the Senate. We can do it!

    IMO, if the SwissMitt Squarejeans pulled rainbow butter flies from his ass at the debate & PBO stood there & watched, Mitty still could not pull this one off.

    I’m looking forward to this debate with a large pitcher of killer margaritas & my best salsa!

    • One of the points that Smartypants made – which is what you can also see for yourself – is that Mitt has a “floor” – which looks like a “ceiling” of 191 electoral votes. That is, despite the ups and downs, he never seems to budge away from that figure. The President has sizable lead in that category, which is what is worrying Republican strategists. They’re really having a tough time seeing a viable path to 270 for Romney.

      Tennessee is another state, along with Florida, which should be causing palpitations in Republican circles. Florida is increasingly looking like an Obama state, and Tennessee, like Arizona, is tightening up. The idea that a Democratic candidate is within less than 5% of the Republican candidate has to be giving the RNC heartburn. :lol:

      • aquagranny911

        Totally OT:

        I think you are a bit of a Scifi person. While I was out & about today I saw a small sign for ‘John Picard’ running for school board, not in my district. I looked him up & he’s a Dem. Seems like a good guy. I can’t vote for him but I sent him a small donation. Trekies got to stick together, lol.

  6. I also have noted a lack of Romney signs. In my rural Maine town (Maine may be blue, but this area leans red) I see signs for state office and some for US Senate, but only ONE for Romney — and it’s on the lawn of the state GOP Chair. The Huffingtonpost had an interesting article looking at the 2002 election Romney won — the only election he ever won – and how debates helped him come from behind in October.

    As to “zingers” – I think the GOP is caught up in a sound bite mentality. They’ve tried to build a campaign around gaffes (lately focusing on Obama) and now they want zingers. You can’t build a campaign on “gotcha” moments! I think the gaffes of Obama and Biden have helped the Democrats by fooling the GOP into thinking gaffes matter.

    • I live in a very red county in a “blue state,” and I have yet to see a Romney sign. Signs for every other candidate on the ballot, but none for Romney.

      I think the Republicans have been, for quite some time, been trying to play the “fear card,” as witnessed by Drudge’s recent flop of a “big news story.” There’s also the constant repetition of “socialism!” in their comments. As was pointed out elsewhere, it’s things that worked for them in the past, and they can’t understand why it’s not working for them now. It’s hard to work the “OMG!! There’s a scary black man in the White House who’s going to make this a socialist country!” bit when the man has been in office for 4 years. ;-)

      • Vic78

        It’s funny that you mention the GOP’s out of touchness(Internet license on vocabulary). I don’t think they’ve been paying attention. Cee-lo Green’s a pop star on NBC prime time. Many won’t get the significance of that. Cee-lo’s pretty radical. If Cee-lo is palatable to mainstream sensibilities, dog whistles aren’t going to be as effective as they were in the 80s.

        Cee-lo was on that Common song that had the conservatives doing their pearl clutching(Assatta’s song). It’s over for conservatives. There has been a loss of power that ain’t coming back.

      • And without being able (so far) to actually say the words “scary black man”. They’ve come very close but haven’t actually said those words yet.

  7. Vic78

    I saw how Mitt got out of his 20% trap. Lie and filibuster. Mitt was there to look strong. I would’ve given the debate to Mitt if he weren’t lying the whole time. I’ve got old school sensibilities. I believe the rules should be respected at the highest level.

    • Thank you, Vic, for one of the sensible, rational things I’ve heard today about the debates. If winning a debate is being able to lie constantly while smiling, then Romney had it hands down. He disgusted me even more than I thought was possible.