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Two reasons why Obama not acting like a winning candidate:
negative ad barrage did not (as expected) knock Romney out
& suburban voters only “lightly attached” to his campaign

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:36 pm - August 27, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Obama Hopenchange

Welcome Powerline readers!

For the better part of the year, even as President Obama enjoyed a modest lead in most polls, I wondered why his campaign was acting so desperate, perhaps because his approval remained below 50% or perhaps because rarely topped that number in head-to-head match-ups against Mitt Romney.

I’m not alone in noticing this.  On Friday, commenting on the biased media coverage of this campaign, RedState’s Erick Erickson titled his post, Not the Behavior of a Winning Campaign. (Via Ed Driscoll.)

Finding the tone of the “fundraising emails” he has “received from Barack Obama or his surrogates” increasingly desperate, John Hinderaker wonders “how bad must Obama’s internal polling be, to cause him to whine and beg in such pathetic fashion”.

I’ve wondered the same thing, but now I have another thought  — perhaps the Democrat’s internals track closely with the national polls and show that the $120 million he spent over the summer “in hopes of”, as John put it quoting an Obama advisor, “killing Romney,” hasn’t been as effective as they hoped.  The ads may have pushed Romney’s numbers down, but haven’t made him an unacceptable alternative to a failed incumbent.

Indeed, the polls are tighter now than when Obama began his anti-Romney advertising barrage.  And perhaps that’s what’s making the Obama team sound so desperate. Their strategy isn’t working.  They had hoped to have knocked Mitt Romney out by now, perhaps in the hopes of running a more upbeat fall campaign.

Now, to be sure, it could be other things as well.  Perhaps Obama’s internal show that he has a ceiling of about 47-48% and that undecided voters are more inclined to vote against him than to vote for him.  Or that his own support is softer than Romney’s, with a higher percentage of his voters willing to change their minds before November 6.

Writing last Friday about the then-upcoming Republican Convention, George Will suggested as much.  Observing that “John McCain in 2008 did not carry any suburb contiguous to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit or Chicago“, he also found that “Such places are habitats of people who by now may be lightly attached Obama voters — people who like the idea of him but not the results of him.”  (Emphasis added.  Read the whole thing.)

It is perhaps that light attachment which most concerns the Obama team.  They know that suburban voters have trended Republican in the most recent off-year elections.  They too could be open a Republican of Romney’s temperament and business background.

And as Michael Barone has shown, Romney has a proven appeal among such affluent suburban voters.



  1. desperate… whine… beg… hopes of…killing Romney

    I think it’s Obama’s true colors showing.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 27, 2012 @ 10:10 pm - August 27, 2012

  2. I’m not sure that “desperate” fund raising letters really prove anything. They have to be written that way in order to motivate the recipients to open their wallets. If the letter said, “You know? Things are actually going really well!” then fewer people would give money.

    I do think that Obama is getting desperate, but this isn’t evidence of that.

    Comment by Steven Den Beste — August 28, 2012 @ 1:03 am - August 28, 2012

  3. @Steven, in fact it is evidence of their desperation. We on the right are a tiny part of their mailing list, the list is geared to the faithful. Sending blasts to the faithful one could rightly assume that they would be hawking things like:

    ** Passage of ObamaCare;
    ** Pulling out of Iraq;
    ** Planned pullout of Afghanistan;
    ** Ending DADT;
    ** Not defending DOMA;
    ** Protecting minority voting rights by fighting ID requirements;
    ** Creating 4.5 million jobs, it would have been more but for the Republican House;
    ** Their “green initiatives”;
    ** Saving the automotive industry;

    and that’s just for starters. Are they either fabrications or outright lies? Sure, but those headlines could be well targeted to their lists and would at least present a positive fund raising opportunity.
    just for starters.

    Comment by mbecker908 — August 28, 2012 @ 1:35 am - August 28, 2012

  4. The Dems may blow the Koch Brothers dog whistle but all I hear is George Soros.

    Comment by Ralph Gizzip — August 28, 2012 @ 6:38 am - August 28, 2012

  5. […] Two reasons why Obama not acting like a winning candidate:negative ad barrage did not (as expected) … […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Focus group disappointed with Obama, “cautiously ambivalent” about Romney — August 28, 2012 @ 9:45 am - August 28, 2012

  6. Like a dog that finally catches a car and doesn’t know what to do with it, Obama had nothing past “Hope and Change”. Nothing. His folks had four years to come up with another catchy nondescript slogan, and all they could think of was the old Stalin cry of “Forward”. While he and most Leftists admire Stalin, he isn’t adored in the American middle class, and so the campaign is rudderless. Obama was never a leader, but the first time around his followers were able to imagine any kind of leadership they craved in him, from dictatorial to benevolent. Now they simply want some leadership, and there’s none to be had.

    Comment by Diggs — August 28, 2012 @ 11:54 am - August 28, 2012

  7. […] this low number has already shown up in the Democrat’s internal polls, accounting for his campaign’s recent anxiety.  With only 40% of voters saying Obama deserves reelection, he needs to win not just those neutral […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Are these the numbers causing so much anxiety in the Obama camp? — September 4, 2012 @ 4:37 pm - September 4, 2012

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