Mitt Romney gets post-debate boost in the polls. Will it last?
Mitt Romney is moving ahead in the first public opinion polls taken since his debate with President Obama. But there are two more debates and a month to go until Election Day, and the race remains close.
(Page 2 of 2)
“I am certainly a partisan and certainly a committed activist, but getting rid of Obama overwhelms everything,” he told Politico. “We can’t worry now about the nettlesome aspects of Romney’s positions on some things.”Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In three key areas, Romney has moved to position himself as a centrist: He says he wouldn’t deport young illegal immigrants given a chance to stay in the United States by Obama; he’s playing up the health care program (with its individual mandate) that was his signature accomplishment as governor of Massachusetts; and rhetorically at least, he’s backed away from his own tax plan.
He even acknowledged that government regulation “is essential.”
“I mean, you have to have regulations so that you can have an economy work,” he declared (as if he’d been saying it all along).
In a rare display of contrition, Romney also told Fox News Thursday that his comment about the “47 percent” of the electorate he seemed to write off in a private meeting with campaign donors was “completely wrong.”
The question between now and Nov. 6 is whether independent and undecided voters (especially suburban women) see all this as the logical and expected shift from primary season base-building to general election campaigning or as an insincere flip-flop.
It wasn’t long ago that conservative columnist Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal was calling the Romney campaign “incompetent,” then revising that to term it a “rolling calamity.”
How does she see things after this week’s debate?
“The impact of the first debate is going to be bigger than we know,” she wrote. “It's going to affect thinking more than we know, and it's going to start showing up in the polls, including in the battlegrounds, more dramatically than we guess.... this whole race is on the move again, it's in play again, and it's going to get fun.”
The one bright spot for Obama this week came with the September jobs figures, including an unemployment rate that dipped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.
Will it make a difference?
Carter lost his re-election bid to Reagan in 1980 as unemployment climbed from 6 percent in October 1979 to 7.5 percent in October 1980; four years later, Reagan won re-election with a jobless rate of 7.3 percent in September of that year, after dropping from 8 percent nine months earlier.
“It gives Obama a talking point, something to get people’s attention off his debate performance,” Bruce Bartlett, an economist in former president George H.W. Bush’s administration, told the AP. “As long as people are seeing improvement, at least some voters are going to say to themselves, ‘Well, best not to switch horses in the middle of the stream.’”