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Susan Estrich
12 Feb 2016
Why We Do It This Way

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10 Feb 2016
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5 Feb 2016
Donald Trump: Sore Loser

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Who's on First?


Depending on which poll you believe, Obama is either up by 3, 7 or 9 points, or down by 1, 3 or 5.

Or none of the above.

Figuring out who's going to be on first in November (which is the only time that counts) is not something you can do just by looking at a photograph of where people are today (which is what a poll does). You also have to look at the calendar and the dynamics.

The economy seems to be in the midst of an uneven recovery. Things are better than they were but not good enough. Some months it seems like we're doing much better. Some months it feels like anything but a recovery. If this were a steady uphill climb, none of the polls would show Obama behind. If people were really feeling hopeless, none of the polls would show Obama ahead.

But as a betting woman, I'm betting on Obama. And while I'm never confident (you should have known my mother, whose first words on every call were "what's wrong"), I'd be a lot more nervous if I were sitting in Mitt Romney's camp.

Why? Because Romney just wrapped up the nomination. With the exception of Ron Paul, all the guys and gals who've been trashing him for the past year are now singing his praises. No one's running negative ads about multiple-choice Mitt. He isn't fighting for his political life every Tuesday. The donors who missed the first train are jumping on and trying to make up for it, and the ones who got on early are strutting and digging in a little deeper. Commentators aren't out there wondering why he can't wrap this thing up even though he's the only guy on the stage who could credibly debate Obama, speculating about brokered conventions and the rest.

You get two sure bumps when you're running for president. The first is when you wrap up the nomination. Romney — at long last — is a winner. Everybody loves a winner. But he's running behind in at least half of the polls out there, and the blue line continues to float above the red one in the averages.

Romney will get his second bump at the Republican convention.

But it remains to be seen just how smooth and successful that convention will be. I will never forget going to the 1992 Republican convention, working for a network, expecting to spend my week discussing Bill Clinton's record on taxes and spending in Arkansas, and instead watching in amazement as grassroots Republican conservatives turned the convention into what might now be called a tea party rally. It was wild. Could they really be fighting about whether Abraham Lincoln deserved to be in the platform or whether his reference to the "better angels" was anti-Christian? Was that Ronald Reagan trying to convince an unruly convention to be more tolerant? Was the Pope a Democrat?

You can bet the bank on this: The Democratic Convention will be a celebration of all things Obama. Nothing will actually happen, of course, but it will be four days of tears and cheers and the best television the party that is loaded to the gills with the best people in television can produce. No one will say a word, not a word, from the podium without the approval of Team Obama. The president will get as big a bump as the economy will allow. If it's a good month, economically speaking, it will be a very good bump.

What the Republican Convention will be like is another matter. Romney will have to give good speaking spots to all his major opponents. They will say what they want to say. There will be talk about whomever he picks as vice president, and it will not necessarily be favorable. If he doesn't choose a hard-core conservative, hard-core conservatives on the convention floor will complain. If he does go with a hard-core conservative, the convention-goers will respond better than the swing voters. There may well be a platform fight or two — or at least some dissension or questioning of whether Romney can live with his own platform. It will be much more interesting for those of us who talk on television, but it's likely to produce a smaller bump for just that reason.

This is Romney's first big bump, in a very so-so economic month (OK, worse than so-so), and he's not running ahead. The best he can sell is a close race, which suggests that it might not actually be close. If Romney's going to win in November, he should be ahead right now. And he isn't.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



12 Comments | Post Comment
Things truly are desperate at camp boy barack. As it was said by another, it is remarkable how fast an election will accelerate evolution. Camp boy now supports gay marriage but will not propose legislation. What a camp coward! And Estrich just what is she smoking? For an incumbent not to be way out in front at this stage is a disaster for the incumbent but in this instance it is a blessing for America. In the past eight elections in which incumbents fought for a second term as president, none save Bush gained the undecided vote.When likely voters are polled Rasmussen has Romney ahead 48-43. So 9% undecided. When the boy barack is shown as 45% what this really reflects is a 54% -45% likely win for Romney. Good riddance to the camp boy.
Comment: #1
Posted by: joseph wright
Thu May 10, 2012 5:30 PM
There is nothing in this article that a person who even slightly follows politics dosen't already know. Joe, how come you only comment on Susans articles? She is one of the least talented writers on this site and I wonder why I only get to read your lively comments in response to her.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu May 10, 2012 5:56 PM
Economists and political analysts . . . you gotta love them!
Comment: #3
Posted by: Motley Wisdom
Fri May 11, 2012 6:07 AM
Two out of five Democrats in West Virginia voted for a convicted felon who now is sitting in federal prison, rather than support President Obama. They did not even bother to find out the first thing about the alternative candidate or they didn't care! This means that a sizable proportion of the Democratic Party not only fail to support the President, they HATE him. It is one thing to lose enthusiasm; it is another to generate hostility.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Cowboy Jay
Fri May 11, 2012 10:30 AM
If who will be the next President is between Obama and Romney then I really do not care who wins. Republicans are nothing but a watered down version of Liberals Democrats now and America is in effect a one party political system.

That said I would like to see conservatives take over Congress which means, ironically enough, Republicans take over Senate and keep the house. I Know this is a bit inconsistent consider my opinion of Republicans but such is still sound thinking.

From WORST to BEST, here are my rankings of the outcomes of the next election

(1) Obama wins President and Dem. keep Senate and Dem. take over house;
(2) Romney wins President and Rep. take Senate and Rep. keep house;
(3) Obama wins President and Dem. keep Senate and Rep. keep house;
(4) Romney wins President and Dems keep Senate and Rep. keep house; and
(5) Obama wins President and Rep take Senate and Rep keep house.

I have zero respect for Romney and he represents EVERY thing I dislike in a person running for President – hypocrite, a liar, and a Liberal (which is kind of redundant) who pretends to be a conservative – which is the worst kind of liberal.

The Republican can kiss my butt, I voting for Obama.
Comment: #5
Posted by: SusansMirror
Sat May 12, 2012 9:15 PM
Re: SusansMirror
What worse than a racist, angry, narcisistic, hypocritical, lying, Marxist, Islamist piece of dog eating sh*t who pretends to be American, who pretends to be variously Lincoln or Reagan, who is the bastard son of a poligamist drunkard foreign national and an American leftist sl*t, the consort of the likes of rev wright, ayers, dorn, and other radicals and who in his increasingly dangerous delusional and dictatorial state sees himself as King of America and or God and who is daily enacting the dreams taken from his America hating reprobate father in order to destroy this Republic and all of its people (liberal, conservative or whatever) morally, spiritually and financially.
While I am usually sympathetic with your thoughts, you are with respect way off base on this one. Nothing, but nothing, could be worse for us all than the new boy george barak getting re-elected by reason of the thinking you set forth.
While Romney was not the first choice and while it may take further election cycles to rid ourselves of the liberal rhinos (with a small r) we have to start by ousting the boy barack and cleansing the Whitehouse of the vermin presently infesting it.
Comment: #6
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun May 13, 2012 10:03 AM
Re: SusansMirror
If you vote for Obama you're voting for Marxism! The BEST outcome is:
Romney wins President and Conservatives take Senate and House!
One step at a time to get us out from under dictatorship.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Early
Mon May 14, 2012 7:30 AM
Nah Suzie you never voted for anything but a demorat in you life.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Paul
Mon May 14, 2012 12:20 PM
Shame on you, Susan! As a former national presidential campaign manager, you know more than most how dismal Obama's polling is and I'm not even privy to the internals, which you most likely are. The only polls that show Obama barely beating Romney are either among adults or among registered voters. Obama is behind in every national poll among likely voters. Further, you include no discussion of the double-digit lead Romney now holds with independent voters.

I get that you are an Obama cheerleader; but without any objectivity, you'll even lose us conservatives - who seem to be the majority of your audience.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Lesley Barnard
Mon May 14, 2012 11:14 PM
Lesley, I have not heard about the double digit Romney lead amoung independants. Where can I find this at?
Comment: #10
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Tue May 15, 2012 9:26 AM
New poll results are delivering positive news for Republicans, including one survey showing that presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has opened up a double-digit lead over President Barack Obama among independent voters.

A Politico/George Washington University poll has Romney with a razor-thin lead over Obama among all likely voters, 48 percent to 47 percent. A similar poll in February had Obama ahead by 9 percentage points.

But among voters who identified themselves as independents, Romney garnered 48 percent of the vote to Obama's 38 percent.

Romney also has a 6-point lead among respondents who said they are “extremely likely” to vote in November.

In other good news for Republicans, the survey found that the GOP has taken a 45 percent to 43 percent lead on the generic congressional ballot, and 65 percent of respondents believe Republicans will continue to control the House after the election.

Read more on Poll: Romney Opens 10-Point Lead Among Key Independent Voters
Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama's Re-Election? Vote Here Now!
Comment: #11
Posted by: Lesley Barnard
Tue May 15, 2012 10:48 PM
Thanks Lesley, this is good news indeed.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed May 16, 2012 9:12 AM
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