Obama’s “Two-track” campaign and the “Politics of Anything Goes”

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

As NRL News Today does several times a week, let me post a few ideas, gleaned from recent data regarding the nip and tuck race between pro-life Mitt Romney and pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

What makes this interesting today is the contrasting and (in some respects) complementary arguments made by two analyists I respect.

The first comes from Gallup, which does the most extensive/largest surveys of any polling organization. In a poll released today, done for Gallup and USA Today, we find that the crux of President Obama’s attack on Mr. Romney appears not to be working.

For example, to quote the lead paragraph from the front page story written by USA Today’s Susan Page, “Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.”

“Significant advantage”? Indeed, how about 63% to 39% saying they believe (according to Page) “Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.”

In addition, the Gallup poll of 1,030 adults found, Page writes,

“Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much more enthusiastic about the election, an important factor in persuading supporters to vote. By 18 points, 51%-33%, they report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting. In contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by 4 points say they are less enthusiastic than usual, 43%-39%.”

Good news, right, especially the added comment that “Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president”?

But even if Gallup believes this strategy of demonizing Romney’s business background isn’t a winning strategy for Obama, there is no evidence that the great unifier (as he pictured himself to be in 2008) hasn’t completely reversed himself. As Thomas Edsall argues in the New York Times,

Now, faced with a tough re-election fight, President Obama has, in fundamental respects, adopted the strategy he denounced eight years ago.

“He is running a two-track campaign. One track of his re-election drive seeks to boost turnout among core liberal groups; the other aims to suppress turnout and minimize his margin of defeat in the most hostile segment of the electorate, whites without college degrees.”

Edsall is maintaining (in a story depressingly headlined “The Politics of Anything Goes”!) that Obama’s support from whites without college degrees is approaching historic lows for a Democrat. If in addition to his support falling with this group there are limits to what Obama can expect from his own core constituencies, the only answer is to convince whites without college degrees that Romney is the devil incarnate so as to depress their turnout.

Thus, while Susan Page can logically extrapolate from the USA Today/Gallup poll that “The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy,” you can come away from Edsall’s piece with the firm conclusion that President Obama will only go more and more negative.

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