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Keep Calm and Carry On

As Paul noted last night, the Gallup Poll currently has Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by six points, 50-44. Paul expressed skepticism about that finding, with which I agree. Why would Obama be enjoying a spike in support over the last week? Are voters happy to see an American ambassador murdered and the Middle East in flames, while our economy continues to stagnate? I don’t think so.

Certainly the Rasmussen survey, which tracks likely voters, hasn’t seen any similar bump for Obama. As of today, Rasmussen’s three-day rolling numbers have the race tied 46-46. It couldn’t be closer: with “leaners” included, Rasmussen has it 48-48, and in the swing states it’s 46-46.

Obama’s resurgence in the Gallup Poll looks suspiciously like the one that Gallup gave Jimmy Carter in 1980. As we noted a couple of weeks ago, Gallup tried to convince its readers in October 1980 that Carter had surged to an eight-point lead over Ronald Reagan:

So, were voters suddenly happy about American hostages being held in Iran for a year, or about high unemployment and skyrocketing prices? Of course not. The Carter bounce was entirely fictional, caused either by lousy polling technique or an effort by Democrats at Gallup to drum up support for their candidate. I suspect that this year’s Obama bounce is cut from the same cloth.

Still, there is no denying that Republicans are nervous. This election shouldn’t be close, given Obama’s record, yet it looks as though it will be. So everyone has advice for the Romney campaign. (Running a political campaign is one of those things, like calling football plays, on which everyone is an expert.) Byron York writes that Republicans are imploring Romney to get more aggressive on the campaign trail:

Romney’s oscillation between a more and less aggressive stance comes as Republicans both inside and outside the party establishment are urging him to be more assertive against Obama. At Ryan’s first Ohio appearance of the week, a rally Monday in Lima, voter after voter recommended the Romney campaign change course. “Be more aggressive,” said one. “More forceful,” said another. “Bolder,” said another. “Hit harder,” said another. “More fire,” said another. By that, they meant not only that Romney hit Obama harder but that he also be more assertive and forthcoming about his own plans for the White House.

A candidate’s partisans nearly always want the candidate to be more aggressive; recall how many Democrats have accused Obama of being too low-key on the stump. Still, the desperate situation in which America finds itself does seem to call for an all-out attack by Republicans this year. Like most conservatives, I doubt whether our country can survive another four years of Obama. For what it’s worth, the one time I have seen Romney live in recent weeks, he was very aggressive, sounding like the Romney that York describes here; of course, on that occasion Romney was talking to donors:

Addressing a crowd gathered in chilly, rainy weather outside the Wright Brothers Aviation hangar at Dayton Airport, Romney said the president has “a vision of government that is entirely foreign to anything this nation has ever known.” Obama’s vision is an America with “a larger and larger government, taking more and more from the people, intruding itself into your relationship with your doctor, investing in companies, picking winners and losers…”

“That is not the America I know,” Romney continued. “That is not the America that built Ohio. That is not the America that we’re going to restore.”

Romney himself, in the eye of the hurricane, has remained commendably calm. There is no sign that his confidence has wavered, no hint of a major change in strategy (despite the claims of some reporters), no indication of even a moment of panic. I don’t know what Romney’s internal polling is showing, but I suspect that he has confidence not only in his message but in the massive turnout effort that he and his supporters have been building. And, perhaps, in the voters. Americans are by no means infallible, but are they really dumb enough, or self-destructive enough, to want another four years of Barack Obama’s failures? Will 98% of African-Americans, in particular, vote for another four years of record poverty and unemployment? I don’t think so.

If Romney’s confidence proves misplaced, there will be time enough to contemplate how we can try to salvage America’s future. For now, conservatives need to stay engaged through the home stretch, supporting conservative House and Senate candidates like the Power Line Pick Six, doing our best to convince friends, relatives and co-workers to vote Republican, and, of course, turning out ourselves on November 6.

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