Pro-Democratic worry-warts seeking relief from terrifying visions of game-changing electoral disaster are directed to Ed Kilgore’s Washington Monthly post ‘Where’s the Change Coming From?” Coach Kilgore has a pep talk for your pre-game jitters in his comments about Charlie Cook’s post at The National Journal noting the Obama-favoring stability of the presidential race:
Cook goes on to look at developments in the battleground states, which provide even worse news for Team Mitt, and notes in passing that of course something unexpected could happen to change the dynamics. But as you read him, it’s hard not to think about how many “game changers” that were discussed earlier this year just haven’t come to pass and may be off the table.
The economy? Yeah, we could get bad jobs reports for September and October, but they’d have to be pretty bad to have a real impact at this late date, and many economic indicators (most notably consumer confidence) are pointing at least modestly upwards in the short run. As WaPo’s Greg Sargent notes today, polls are beginning to show a significant majority of Americans think the economy is now improving or will soon improve under Obama.
The enthusiasm gap? That’s pretty much gone, most observers (including Cook) note…The debates? Rarely a big factor, as political scientist John Sides has demonstrated in a recent piece for the Washington Monthly.
Social issues? It’s enough to note that even though Republicans once thought the “war on religion” would wedge Catholic voters in their direction, it’s now Democrats who raise “social issues.”..The ground game? Even if you accept that Team Mitt is doing a better job in this area than did Team McCain in 2008, nobody seriously argues it has an advantage over Obama, and may have a big advantage.
The ads? Again, it’s pretty well established among political scientists that there is a point of diminishing returns for paid media in presidential campaigns, a point that earlier saturation advertising has already reached. And there’s the little matter of asking what content in political ads would make a difference, given all the strategic conundrums facing Romney.
Sure, an unexpected disaster could lead to an upset. But the (Intrade) smart money says it’s not happening.