Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who Won the Week? (June 10-16)

There seems to be a pattern emerging week by week.  Ever since the primaries effectively ended, Mitt Romney has generally not been the one making news.  After months of repeated gaffes like “I like to fire people” and the “NASCAR” line, Mr. Romney has finally learned to keep his mouth shut, or at least to stick to the script.

Instead, the candidate usually driving the news cycle (for better or for worse) has been President Obama.  This week was no different.  However, this week, unlike the past couple, Mr. Obama and his team finally seemed to find their footing.

On Thursday, President Obama sought to lay out his economic message in Ohio.  While Obama offered no new policy plans or initiatives, he framed his message to appeal to those who still believe President Bush is most to blame for the country’s economic conditions.  Thankfully for President Obama, 68% of the country still believes that, according to a new poll. 

Mr. Romney also gave a speech in Ohio not far from the President.  However, Mr. Romney’s message seemed to be overshadowed by the Obama campaign’s large event.  This alone would not have constituted a bad week for Mitt Romney: cue the immigration announcement.

The next day, President Obama announced that his administration would allow children of illegal immigrants who were under 30 years old to apply to stay in the country for another two years.  Mr. Obama stated that his hope was there could be a more permanent solution legislated within that time frame.

This announcement made a bad problem worse for Romney.  There was no question the GOP nominee would begin with a deficit of support among Hispanics, especially after the strict immigration laws that have been passed in states like Arizona and Alabama. 

However, this move by the Obama administration will almost assuredly grow his margin among the Latino populations, provided Mr. Romney doesn’t split with his base and support the President’s decision.  Even more importantly, the Hispanic vote is key to winning some swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, and Florida. 

Since Friday, Mr. Romney has been on the defensive when asked if he supported the President’s decision or if he would continue the policy if he were to become President.  He has yet to offer a clear answer, except to claim that President Obama is playing politics with policy. 

Polling:  This is a bright spot for Mitt.  Both Gallop and Rasmussen have consistently had polls showing Romney beating the President in a head-to-head matchup, while other polling agencies give Obama only a slight lead.  Essentially, the race is a statistical tie with Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney by only 0.7%.  Obviously, polls from individual states matter more than national polls, and Obama is doing better on the state level, at least in those that matter most.

In the end, Obama reversed the bad news cycle that had been giving his campaign headaches for the past two weeks, and he has now put Mitt in a tough position.  It will be interesting to see how Mr. Romney deals with the immigration announcement.  If anything, this could mean a better shot for Marco Rubio in the VEEP contest…

Who Won the Week?  President Obama 

No comments:

Post a Comment