Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mitt Romney's Path To Victory That No One Wants To Mention

In addition to the Jeep ad that's a complete lie, Mitt Romney has revived his number one summer time jam, the welfare attack ad, in a last ditch bid to put Pennsylvania, Ohio, and possibly Virginia into play. This is coming as today's polling show that the defeat train is bearing down on Romney and running full speed, leading Romney Pollster Neil Newhouse to do his best Baghdad Bob impersonation, or perhaps his best Mark Penn in the 2008 primaries impersonation.

What Newhouse seems unwilling to say is that Romney's has very few paths to victory left at this point. As we've observed previously, either he has to hope that the state-level polls are incorrect, or that there will be a sudden shift in the electorate in a short period of time. And their best hope that the polls are wrong is that a tiny fraction of the center-and center-right leaning portions of the electorate are still subject to the Bradley Effect—the curious disappation of support for African-American candidates. The Bradley Effect seemed to no longer be a factor in 2008, but that may have been influenced by the fact that Obama's class markers are not distinctly African-American, the historic nature of his candidacy, and the fact that George W. Bush totally sucked. To a large number of (white) voters, he was, for the lack of a better word, a "different kind of black politician". This helped Obama dislodge a large number of voters in rural non-Appalachian/Ozark areas that had soured on Democrats during the Clinton years. It's not outside of the realm of possibility that the Bradley Effect might return in a down economic year, now that Republicans have done a better job of defining Obama as a "typical black politician".

This is not to say that all, most, or even very many Republicans, harbor that much racial resentment. But at the margins, it may be the way their Presidential candidate has decided to try to win this election.

Update: it turns out Jonathan Bernstein mentioned this over at WaPo's Plum Line. Great minds think alike?

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