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I'm not looking for any commentary on the debate itself, or on the press coverage thereof, or of Obama's qualifications or character (or Romney's).  We know O lost the debate--in the sense that the majority of the public (and the press) seems to think so; the time for arguing otherwise has long past (and the D-leaning punditocracy whiffed).

I'm not interested in any meta-analysis of the polls--questions concerning their quality, reliability, or bias.  There's plenty of that elsewhere.  Even if you discard the surplus of R-leaning pollsters that have been "flooding the zone" in the past week and a half, there has been a noticeable shift in the Romney direction.

The question I'm interested in is this:

Where is the shift coming from?

How much comes from:

* Morale gains among solid R voters?
* Morale losses among solid D voters?
* Independents/undecideds moving into the R column?
* Democratic-leaners becoming undecided, or moving into the R column?

Knowing this is important to know how to deal with it.

Undermining Republican morale is something that is hard to control--the best way to do that is by simply beating them; which is what was happening until Wednesday last.

Democratic morale is something we can do something about--this is why I (and many others) get pissed off at the "woe is us!" crowd that has ramped up in the past week.  Guys--if you are really bummed and think we're doomed, keep it to yourselves, at least until after the election.  Go have a beer, smoke a joint, climb a mountain, or do whatever makes you happy.  Or go watch the Biden debate; we can win on policy arguments.  But quit crapping your drawers; if you have nothing else to contribute other than soiled linens, the door is thataway.

The interesting case is the latter one:  a shift to Romney among the middle.  Repairing this will probably require a fundamental hit against Romney--such as a frontal attack by Obama in the next debate.  A theory some have advocated is that Debate #1 made Romney look "presidential"; undoing the past several months of gaffes and missteps.  Romney is still vulnerable here--all liars are--but it will take a direct assault on his veracity.  To put it short--Obama's mission on Tuesday isn't so much to debate Romney on policy, but to expose him as the flim-flam artist he is.  

A couple interesting data points to note:

  • A shift in morale is evidenced by changes in likely-voter (LV) models; two weeks ago many of these were even or even favoring Democrats; now Gallup is claiming a LV/RV discrepancy of about +4R.  Those are close to 2010 numbers, not 2008 numbers.  GOTV remains crucial; if those who say they are going to (or likely to) vote for Obama do vote for Obama, he likely wins.  But if it really is R+4, Obama will have great difficulty winning.
  • His approval rating (according to Gallup) is trending upwards, including a post-debate sample.  Gallup's latest 3-day sample has him at 50-46 (+6), ordinarily good news for an incumbent (incumbents who are well-liked usually don't lose).  What to make of this disconnect with polling data--I don't know; other than that it appears that Romney is up on a pedestal right now.  Which suggests that he needs to be knocked off of it.

Potential game-changers (for Obama):

  • Another gaffe tape appears.  Romney will probably apologize for that, of course--it seems that he's gotten permission from the right-wing to move to the center (except on abortion), and try to brush it off as another campaign-trial lapse in judgement.
  • The tax returns.  What if Romney were to be asked, specifically:  "Have you ever been investigated or penalized by the IRS for tax evasion, or participated in any IRS amnesty programs"?   The fact that he was willing to disclose (via accountants) that he paid a 13% rate over the past few years, but is still unwilling to disclose the actual contents of the returns themselves, suggests that there is something in there more damaging than just getting a boat-load of rich-guy tax breaks.
Poll

How did the October 3 debate change YOUR plans regarding voting, donation, canvassing, GOTV, etc?

29%15 votes
3%2 votes
49%25 votes
5%3 votes
11%6 votes

| 51 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am not going to wake up on Nov 7 to a (10+ / 0-)

    President Rmoney.
    Hell no!

    "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. We must put our hands on it and we must bend it in the direction of justice." MLK

    by mindara on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 09:39:49 PM PDT

  •  obama doesn't need a game-changer (7+ / 0-)

    he just needs two solid debates. and it hasn't been a d>r shift, because the models show, if anything, slightly improving numbers for the senate. this has been specific to the presidential race.

    my interpretation is that some of obama's support was soft, in that some people weren't enthused about him but were wary of romney. by letting romney get away with so much blatant bullshit in the first debate, obama allowed his soft supporters to start feeling more comfortable with romney. that will be hard to change. some of the anti-romney vote has now become tepid romney support. to win them back, obama needs to remind them that things are much better than they were before he took office, that romney will reinstate many of the policies that got us in so much trouble in the first place, and that romney really is an out-of-touch asshole. a little bit of each can go a long way.

    all that said, it's still obama's race to lose, although nate silver tonight says the numbers are edging very close to what his model describes as a toss-up.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 09:44:51 PM PDT

  •  Game changer? (5+ / 0-)

    Meet Sensata.

    When Bain first led a buyout of Sensata, in fact, it laid off hundreds of American workers and sent their jobs offshore. As the Times reported, the Labor Department spent $780,000 retraining some of the laid-off employees.

    In addition, Mr. Romney’s generous retirement agreement ensures that he continues to profit from the deals and decisions that Bain makes. He owns about $8 million worth of Bain funds that hold 51 percent of Sensata’s shares. If Sensata saves money by closing the Freeport plant, that could add money to Mr. Romney’s trust accounts, now or after the election.

    Many conservatives want Mr. Romney to make a full-throated defense of these practices, and hope he explains to Americans that plant closings and offshoring are a natural part of capitalism and can have long-term positive effects for the economy.

    But Mr. Romney clearly feels he can’t do that, because the political effect of defending layoffs would be toxic. That’s especially true because his entire campaign is built around accusing President Obama of not creating enough American jobs.

    Fingers crossed that Obama makes use of this.

    ‎"Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor." - Norman Mailer
    My Blog
    My wife's woodblock prints

    by maxomai on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:47:06 PM PDT

  •  The only reasonable thing to conclude (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sparkysgal, don mikulecky

    after a noticeable swing to Romney because of one single debate is that there were many thousands of supposed Obama "supporters" who have no goddamn clue why they were supporting Obama in the first place. This means that a good portion of the post-convention bump and post-47% video bump that Obama got was extremely soft, and would melt away at the first sign of trouble.

  •  "The Shift" is largely mechanical. (0+ / 0-)

    Consider how poll taking works:

    1. The poller makes 100 calls.

    2. 10 people out of that 100 "qualify" to be respondents.

    3. Of those 10, roughly half of them are willing to take the time and answer questions.

    4. So you -- meaning all the big polling outfits -- get a 5% respondent percentage.

    5. Then there's playing with the voter selection screen which varies from pollster to pollster.
    - - - - - - - - -

    What happened this week is that Republicans got way, way more willing to talk to the pollsters.

    They threw the percentage screens way, way off. And mailers went out same time telling "tactical" voters to identify themselves as Democrats.

    Our follow-up results, where we've been tracking the same several-thousand home sample for a year ??? No change. Nothing. Not one intention changed by the debate.

    Romney words: loud, repetitive/insistent, handsome. The one and only thing they remembered was that he wanted to get the economy moving again faster.

    And they think we're pro-business, likely Republicans. They "know it" because our phone bank is Republicans to the nines. They're really into the process.

    Sadly, the sample is no longer Low Information Voter any more. But we'll see.

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