Four years ago I was proud to be a part of the McCain-Palin team. We went into the last week of the campaign hopeful that we would be able to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. As the last weekend before election approached in 2008, the national polls pulled closer and closer to within just over a field goal and those of us in headquarters and throughout the country truly believed that we had a shot. Once Election Day came and went, even though the result went against us, we were proud to have fought to the very last day.
The feeling among GOP faithful four years later is drastically different. We do not "hope" to win or "believe we can" win, but are convinced that Mitt Romney will win the election on November 6.
First, Romney has consistently led President Barack Obama in the national polls ever since the president decided to skip the first presidential debate in Denver. In fact, the Gallup tracking poll has had Romney above 50 percent in their tracking polls released since October 15, coinciding with when the fallout from the first debate was first fully integrated into polling.
Even the vaunted Democrat early voting effort is failing—Mitt Romney leads in polls of those who have voted by 6 points, whereas Obama lead John McCain in that category by 15 points four years ago.
Second, numbers are moving downward for the president not only in the "battleground" states such as Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina, but even in once safe states such as Oregon and Minnesota. President Bill Clinton having to go to Minnesota within a week of the election only adds to the narrative that the Obama team is desperate and is once again going to the well on the Clinton charisma. It is useful to remember that Minnesota was a safe state for Democrats even in 1984 when every other state voted for Ronald Reagan.
Finally, and most importantly, the air of invincibility or predestination has been completely missing from the Obama campaign since the Denver debacle on October 3. While it is true that the president did better in the next two debates, that is akin to scoring a couple of three pointers while being down by 20 points with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, too little too late.
With his teflon image gone, unable to depend on hollow "hope and change" slogans, and with few achievements to speak of, President Obama has surrendered the confidence mantle to the GOP.
- Read Robert Schlesinger: Mitt Romney's Electoral Problem and the War on Nate Silver
- Read Ford O'Connell: Barack Obama's Failed Campaign Strategy
- Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.