Romney Death Spiral Beginning?

Although I speculated about issues that Mitt Romney might face in a close election in my last post, right now things aren’t looking too close. Nate Silver, over at 538, gives Obama a 76% chance of winning the election and voters viewing Democrats as the better choice both for the economy and foreign policy, things aren’t trending in the former Massachusetts Governor’s direction. As John Heilemann put it in New York Magazine, “a broader narrative emerging in the media across the ideological spectrum: that Romney is losing, knows he is losing, and is starting to panic. This story line is, of course, rooted in reality, given that every available data point since the conventions suggests that Obama is indeed, for the first time, opening up a lead outside the margin of ­error nationally and in the battleground states.”

Fred Barnes has already come out with a preemptive postmortem at the Weekly Standard for what’s gone wrong and has blamed some of the usual scapegoats like “press favoritism” and skewed polling. Only at the end of the piece, does Barnes address in passing other factors, like which candidate is running a better campaign.

There are understandable reasons for Republicans to be befuddled. Obama is poised to become the first incumbent President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win re-election with unemployment above 8%. But Obama isn’t going to win because the press is in the tank for him or because of conspiracy among pollsters. Right now, Obama is running a much better campaign and Romney has not been a very good candidate. For a party that focuses so much on individual responsibility, it’s ironic that Barnes is blaming others, rather than Boston, for Romney’s faults.

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Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs is a journalist living in New York. He is a former reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and contributor to the Boston Globe editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @bencjacobs.