But while the race has been close, it’s been close so far almost entirely in Obama’s favor. The president has led, by a narrow margin, in the vast majority of polling to date. The Republican convention was supposed to be Romney’s chance to finally turn that trend around. In the leadup to the convention, GOP strategists and pundits repeatedly stressed how much was riding on it for Romney: It was his biggest opportunity of the campaign to finally convert voters’ disillusion with Obama into support for the GOP. Middle-of-the-road voters had soured on the president, I heard over and over, but they weren’t ready to put their trust in Romney; with a good convention argument, he could bring them around and start pulling ahead in the race.
Instead, it’s now becoming clear that Romney didn’t do that. Voters who were unsure about him before the convention are still unsure, or, worse, turned off. Romney will have other chances — chiefly the three October presidential debates and the ad blitz enabled by his financial advantage. But as things stand, the fact that Romney is still behind after the conventions — indeed, more behind than he was before — is a very troubling sign for his campaign.
The most memorable Democratic speaker, the one everyone was buzzing about the next day, was Bill Clinton. For the Republicans? Clint Eastwood.
I suppose one of the four scheduled debates in October could turn this around for Romney. Still, eight weeks from Election Day, look at this electoral vote map from Real Clear Politics. Do you see Romney winning most of those toss-up states? Charlie Cook has an acid observation in his column today:
It is becoming clear that if President Obama is reelected, it will be despite the economy and because of his campaign; if Mitt Romney wins, it will be because of the economy and despite his campaign.
On the bright side for Romney, the new ABC/WaPo poll of likely voters show the two candidates neck and neck. So there’s that.