In two sentences:
Obama will win tomorrow.
Romney will come a close runner up.
But it might have been all so very different.
Whilst Boris Johnson quite rightly points out that Mitt won the campaign, he might well have won the election if…
1. The weather had been better: Sandy was Obama’s perfect storm; it allowed him to look tough and presidential, drew him plaudits from one of his ‘largest’ Republican critics (cannot wait for Chris Christie to have a run at the White House), and washed away Romney’s campaign messages from the big networks. Had the weather been less Book of Mormonal, the electoral forecast might well have been better for Mitt. All that a week before polling day. Fans of the West Wing know the havoc an event like this can play on a campaign.
2. Unemployment had been at 7.9%: Oh but that is the unemployment rate – you big tease! US citizens seemingly believe that although the rate is alarmingly high that it will either get better under Obama eventually, or that Romney will make it worse. Which must be frustrating for Romney as factually the unemployment has risen under Obama. If only Romney could get that message across…
3. He could speak normal at people, regularly: He did once, and things really looked like they might be getting better for him. It really was that simple. But it was really only once. He even managed to back someone else for President. Obama is a genius with an autocue, and he demonstrates flashes of brilliance elsewhere, but he can often seem disinterested in your attention if you’re not prepared to agree with him right away. He was definitely capable of being ‘out communicated’. See as evidence a whole political movement that came about in no small part as a result of his inability to explain why healthcare reform was a good idea.
4. Obama’s bunch weren’t such a load of meanies: Remember when Obama said that he was proud to be running a positive campaign? Well, change has come to his campaign this time. With an economic message as compelling as “it could have been worse”, his team have decided to go negative at Romney. If you believe all you hear about Mitt, a victory for him will mean every US citizen will be working in China as a result of outsourced jobs, contraception will be burned across the 50 states, and everyone will be wearing secret underpants (yes – read about it here). Throw enough mud and it sticks, throw a little more and you can build a little mud house, throw a little more and you can win a presidency with unemployment rates at 7.9%. It’s happening.
Mitt – you have 24 hours.
You/ we can turn this around.
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