As new polls show President Obama opening up a wider lead coming out of the Democratic Convention, Mitt Romney’s pollster sent a memo to press Monday morning with a simple message: Don’t panic.
“Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling,” wrote Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse. “While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly.”
Newhouse argues that Obama continues to own the weak economy, and that the issue will soon “reassert itself” as the guiding factor in the election — the chief talking point that has always served as the founding rational of Romney’s campaign
[The Romney Team] hurried out a memo to the troops from their own polling director that is about one-third spin, one-third boasting about the GOP’s money and ground-game (first time I’ve heard them claim an advantage in this area, though the memo actually just compares Mitt’s GOTV resources to McCain’s), and one-third empty assertions that Mitt Will Win Because Mitt Is Good For America.
You can assess this furious denial of a problem as you wish. But what continues to amaze me is the palpable fear and loathing of Republicans towards any adverse public opinion findings, which seem to reflect a sort of self-hypnosis wherein admitting the possibility of an Obama victory will somehow affect the results. Sure, there are some Democrats who think Obama’s going to run away with it all, but not that many; most seem to expect a cliff-hanger, and those who don’t are pretty much keeping their over-confidence to themselves. With a few honorable exceptions (e.g., Sean Trende), though, Team Mitt and its echo-chamber are acting as though defeat is almost literally impossible. It makes you wonder if they’ll be willing to accept defeat on November 6, if it happens. I’m afraid some will be out there the next day, still spinning madly, and that, of course, will be a recipe for a contested election, either in the courts (if it’s very close) or among conservative activists who will be eager to believe Obama hasstolen the presidency again!
“Those tanks behind me are Iraqi and we have the Americans on the run!”