On November 6, 2012, Mitt Romney will be elected President of the United States by a comfortable margin. It will not be a cliffhanger, despite the chorus of conventional wisdom.
This would only be wrong if the American electorate has swerved to the left in recent years, but there is little evidence of this. For example, in 2010, Scott Walker was elected Governor of the state of Wisconsin, long considered a Democrat “blue” state, and his fellow Republicans captured control of the state legislature. Faced with a budget crisis, he sought to end collective bargaining rights for state employees. The Democrats furiously organized a petition, signed by over 900,000, demanding a recall election. The end result was that on June 5, 2012, both Scott Walker and his lieutenant governor were easily re-elected and fellow Republicans retained control of the state legislature.
Indeed, Scott Walker secured an increased majority even though his original election back in 2010 was in the midst of a big swing to the Republicans in the midterm congressional elections. Wisconsin, which voted Democrat in seven out of the last ten presidential contests, is now in play.
The generic presidential polls conducted weekly by Rasmussen from May, 2011, to January, 2012, also showed no general trend to the left. During the latter half of 2011, the “generic Republican” candidate was usually comfortably ahead of President Obama. At no time did this polling show Obama near that magic 50% support. The last poll, taken on January 9-15, showed the generic Republican on 47% and Obama on 42%. A Gallup poll, conducted on October 6-9, 2011, showed the “generic Republican” on 50%, Obama on 42%, other 2% and no opinion, 6%, after the so-called “leaners” were distributed.
The generic polls from last year resemble the current polls, with the only real difference being that the number of undecided voters has shrunk. The Rasmussen tracking poll shows Romney on 50%, Obama on 47%, other candidates 2%, and undecided voters, 2%. Gallup also has Romney on 50% and Obama on 47%. Likewise, the ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Romney on 50% and Obama on 47%. Interestingly, 52% of the same people sampled expected Obama to win and only 40% expected Romney to win. Could this reflect both the influence of and resistance to the mainstream media narrative?
In retrospect, the Republican Party primaries will be seen as merely a noisy distraction. The fractious rivalry between the leading candidates, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum was damaging. In particular, by his furious attacks on Romney, Newt Gingrich violated the eleventh commandment of the Republican Party, as enunciated by Ronald Reagan: “Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans”.
The lack of enthusiasm for Romney, the putative frontrunner, saw conservatives in a rather desperate and forlorn search for an alternative, so it was not surprising that Obama took the lead over Republican candidates during the primary contests. After Romney had eliminated his rivals, Obama initially took the lead over a contender who seemed to generate only lukewarm support from the Republican base.
Two critical events have helped Romney reverse this situation. First was his choice of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate. This not only ensured the enthusiastic support of the conservative Republican base but convinced Republican doubters that Romney himself is really a conservative. The second was his performance in the debates. Here the point wasn’t that Romney proved to be a clever debater but that he demonstrated personal attributes which demolished the dominant mainstream media narrative and the talking points of the Democrats.
It should thus be no surprise that Mitt Romney has restored the Republican vote to what it was back in 2011 and his victory on November 6 is now assured.
Christopher Carr is an occasional contributer to Quadrant Online. Now retired, his interests include share trading, history, and bushwalking