Good, But Not Good Enough

From “The filter:  How the media will measure Mitt Romney,” Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, Politico:

“He seemed like a comfortable and accessible figure, if hardly an electric one; there was nothing distant or exotic about his performance or personal presence.  By the end, he even showed a little punch — he finished strong, even passionately, by his standards.  On the other hand, his nods to the suffering of struggling workers, such as a reference to the person who lost a $22-an-hour job and instead takes two $9-an-hour jobs to make ends meet, rang a little hollow.  The reality is that Romney regularly interacts with few such people, and is far removed from this part of the economy.

“He managed to indict Obama without coming off as mean.  He then made his case crisply for markets versus government, the essence of his political philosophy.

“One senses that talking with Romney might be a little like chatting with the boss at the company picnic — perfectly pleasant but a bit forced.  He cleared the bar on this category, but will still likely want Ryan to handle the likability account.

His policy substance was as thin as tissue paper….  Romney didn’t even get to any policy until the end of the speech.  And even then he just announced a series of aspirations…supported by almost no detail or explanation of how he would achieve these wondrous results. Very weak.

“There were no surprises in this speech, which itself is a bit of a surprise, and disappointment.  How could Romney and his writers not have even one trick up the sleeve?

“This absence highlights what may be the biggest weakness of Romney’s speech.   He is behind in this race.  It is Romney, not Obama, who needs to somehow change the dynamic in some major way, and it is hard to see how Thursday’s speech did this.

“His performance was fine, or even pretty darn good by Romney standards.  That is probably not good enough in his circumstances.”  Emphasis added.

Likability = Electability?

In the last five presidential elections, the guy who was considered more likable won.  In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, President Obama has a 30-point edge in likability, 60% to 30%.  But he is in a virtual tie with Mitt on actual votes.

When it comes to the issues, Mitt is viewed as “better” in all the economic ones — the budget deficit (55-36%), creating jobs (50 to 44%), taxes (49 to 45%), and the economy in general (51 to 41%).

They are tied when it comes to health care, 47 to 47%, which makes sense given that Obamacare is Romneycare.

Obama has the edge on foreign affairs, 52-40%, but very few voters make that their most decisive issue.

The Gallup polling summary concludes:  “For now, it appears as if Romney’s economic strengths and Obama’s likability edge are offsetting one another, as voters are evenly divided in their preferences for whom they want to be the next president.”  Emphasis added.

The economy isn’t going to get better between now and November.  But I doubt Mitt is going to get more likable.  And the electoral college map still favors Obama.

The bottom line for me is that this was the GOP’s election to lose, and it will take someone who is a caricature of phoniness, coldness, and cluelessness to give Obama a second term.

Mitt the Unloved

The new WaPo/ABC News Poll of registered voters shows President Obama at 51% and Mitt at 44.

Obama is up among women by 19% (he won them last time by 13%).  Mitt is up among men by 8%.  Besides a battle of the parties, we’ve got a battle of the sexes going on here.

When asked who seems more likable, Obama was at 64% compared to Mitt’s 26%.

Do they have personality transplants yet?  Mitt desperately needs one.

Wisconsin Doesn’t Really Like Mitt

Mitt won Wisconsin, but the exit polls don’t show much love for him as a person.

Voters were asked which quality mattered most to them:  Ability to defeat Obama, being a true conservative, having strong moral character, or having the right experience.

Mitt won on ability to defeat Obama and having the right experience, qualities that don’t reflect that much on him as a human being.  They reflect hope for what he can do in the future and respect for his business background in the past.  They are the two pragmatic categories among the four, the ones that don’t reflect likability.

Santorum lost overall by 10%, but he won on being a true conservative and having strong moral character, both of which are more about him as a person.  He was 34% ahead of Mitt on character and 48% ahead of Mitt on being a conservative.

Mitt has the nomination, but it’s a very grudging and reluctant coronation that doesn’t excite the base.  You know, those people who always turn out, who put up the yard signs, make the phone calls, etc.

Santorum’s toast, but really Mitt is too.