Third debate via Politico:
59.2 million people watched the final presidential debate, the lowest turnout for a presidential debate this cycle, according to Nielsen...Also via Politico, the idea that Romney is running away with the election, based on Romneyworld's asessment:
Per Nielsen, 67.2 million people watched the first presidential debate in Denver, Colo., on Oct. 3. 65.6 million people watched the second town-hall debate on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y. Only 51.4 million people watched the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11 in Danville, Ky.
In the minds of many Romneyites, Denver didn’t just give them a bump — it permanently blunted the effectiveness of the Obama campaign’s effort to caricature the Republican as a heartless plutocrat.So, it's over. Too bad no one told the voters. And some real sparks started flying regarding this Alec MacGillis piece:
“The majority of Americans don’t want to vote for Barack Obama,” Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said. “But I think that had the Obama campaign chosen to present a positive new agenda they might have had a shot. Instead, they embarked on this ‘Kill Romney’ campaign which has completely imploded around them as I think Romney’s favorables are as high as President Obama’s now.”
We crave narrative. And let’s face it, the narrative of the 2012 campaign was a real dud. Incumbent president faces tough reelection environment but manages to hold onto slim, steady lead thanks to a just-enough recovery and a singularly uninspiring challenger. I remember being in a Dayton hotel the morning after Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remarks broke and watching the head-shaking reaction of Morning Joe and his crew: it left them with nothing to say. Which is a problem, because, well, they had many more weeks of needing something to say.For example, Dylan Byers:
But then: our mile-high salvation! Denver, O Denver. As the dynamic of the first debate began to register just a few minutes in—the crisp and hopped-up Romney against the wordy and listless president—we sang our relief across the Twitterverse. The true partisans among us, the Maddows and Sullivans, rent their garments, but most of us were barely able to suppress our glee: we had ourselves a story. Never mind that the debate had produced no great knockdowns, or that, as some noted in the days following, Obama had actually made a decent substantive case in some areas, if not others. No, we had our story.
You don't speak for me, MacGillisWhat's the dust-up really about? Separating the journos that get spun by the Romney campaign and the quants that don't. James Fallows:
Alec MacGillis, a senior editor at The New Republic, has written an essay on behalf of "the liberal media," explaining how "our" love of narrative has led us to overstate the former Gov. Mitt Romney's momentum for the sake of keeping ourselves entertained in an otherwise unexciting campaign season.
They Can't Both Be Right: 'Savvy' Experts vs. Polls
The big drop in Obama's probability-of-win*, from a high of 86% to a low of 61% by Silver's calculation, came immediately after that first debate. But a week later, that decline stopped -- and then reversed, as it has through the subsequent ten days. (Similarly, see Votamatic.org. Eg, "The reality in the states - regardless of how close the national polls may make the election seem - is that Obama is in the lead.")
They can't both be right: on the one side, the Republican partisans and political "pros" who say that Romney is on the certain road to victory, and on the other the quants who say No he is not. Of course either side allows for uncertainty about the final outcome: there are still two weeks to go. But about the state and the trend of the race, at this moment, they are in fundamental disagreement. The "pros" tell us that Romney is catching up, the quants say he is falling behind.
Hey, some analysts are natural-born quants. Here's Charlie Cook:
The conventional wisdom seems to be that the momentum that Romney built up after his first debate victory had continued to grow, but my sense was that it was arrested by an Obama win in the second debate, albeit less decisive than the Romney’s victory in the first. Going into this third and final debate, the national polls looked dead even, and, coming out of the debate, my guess is that the polls will still be dead even.
But if the national polls are looking even, that doesn’t mean that the election is an even-money contest. Although this race is very close, the road to 270 electoral votes is considerably more difficult for Romney than it is for Obama. The president starts off with undisputed leads in 16 states and the District of Columbia with 237 electoral votes, 33 short of the 270 needed to win. Romney begins with equally clear leads in 23 states with 191 electoral votes, 79 short of a victory. Nine states with 110 electoral votes are in the admittedly broad Toss-Up column (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin). Obama needs to win 30 percent of those Toss-Up electoral votes; Romney needs 72 percent of those votes.