Since Labor Day, the media have released about 20 polls on the presidential race. Three show a dead heat, one shows Romney leading by a single percentage point, and the rest show Barack Obama leading by one to 10 points. In the latest polls, Obama leads by an average of five points. It’s fashionable at this stage to caution that “anything can happen,” that Romney is “retooling,” and that the numbers can turn in Romney’s favor just as easily as they turned against him. But they can’t. The numbers are moving toward Obama because fundamental dynamics tilt the election in his favor. The only question has been how far those dynamics would carry him. . . .
Yes, in principle, Romney could win. The stock market could crash. Obama could be caught shagging an intern. Romney could electrify the country with the greatest performance in the history of presidential debates. But barring such a grossly unlikely event, there is no reason to think Romney will recover. Ultimately, reasons drive elections. . . . [L]ook closely at the trends beneath the horse-race numbers, and you’ll realize why it’s practically impossible to turn those numbers around. Obama doesn’t just have the lead. On each underlying factor, he has the upside as well.
Depressing, right? Well, maybe not so much.
See, if you click the link, you’ll see that my quotation is not quite accurate. I substituted “Romney” for “Bush” and “Obama” for “Gore.” Yes, the quote is from William Saletan, during the 2000 presidential election, explaining why Bush couldn’t possibly win.
I’m sure Saletan is out there making confident pronouncements even today. Gotta pay the bills somehow. But every so often it’s good to look at recent history for perspective.
As Ace says: “So we’re behind. We’ve been behind before.”
And how are those individual factors looking? I mentioned them before but it’s worth revisiting:
- Unemployment: 7.8% then, 8.1% now
- Median income: $54,983 then, $50,964 now
- Gas prices: $1.85 per gallon then, $3.78 now
- National debt: $10.6 trillion then, $16 trillion now
When a guy is making things worse and says he hasn’t had time to finish the job, maybe you don’t want him to finish the job.