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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Romney gets slight post-convention likeability boost -- then screws it all up


Mitt Romney emerged from the Republican convention with an overall improvement in his image among voters but no significant change in the number who say they will vote for him, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

Republicans nominated Romney on Thursday after three days of testimonials from friends, relatives and supporters, many aimed at showing the candidate in a more informal light. Romney has struggled to shake off perceptions of being stiff and aloof.


Thirty-one percent of the registered voters responding to the survey found Romney “likeable” in Friday’s poll, up from Monday’s 26 percent. Obama enjoys a 48 percent likeability rating.

However, there is a Romney pattern. We saw it during the primaries; Mitt would get a good night, then immediately blow it with a gaffe. This kept him just ahead of the other Republicans (and, let’s face it, that’s not much of an accomplishment. They were a pack of lunatics), but never got much of a shiver in the needle against Obama. Now he comes out the the convention with a bounce.

The problem with a bounce is that it will fall again — that’s why they call it a bounce. What you want to do is tread very, very carefully, in hopes that the numbers don’t fall back to where they were. If you keep a point or two after the smoke clears, that’s success.

And this brings us to part two of our little saga:


Yesterday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited Louisiana, where much of the state was flooded due to Hurricane Issac. While visiting the Pelican State, however, Romney had some odd advice for one victim of the hurricane who had lost her home due to the flooding. According to Jodie Chiarello, a suddenly homeless resident of the state, Romney advised her to “go home and call 211.” 211 is a telephone number in Louisiana that provides information to residents about health and human services programs.

Mittens comes out of the convention more likeable, so of course the very first news story he has to generate afterward shows him being a dick who doesn’t really get what “homeless” actually means. “Here’s a quarter,” he might as well have said, “Call someone who cares.”

There’s probably some deep psychological explanation for why Romney has to follow every triumph with a humiliating self-defeat. But I’m not qualified to dig very deeply into that question. Suffice it to say that Romney is obviously inept.

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