Reality Check: Mitt Romney's Campaign Is Not Over

The media is acting like the presidential race is over for Mitt Romney, but polling and reality don't support this claim.

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To read Politico, The Washington Post, and just about every publication in the MSMosphere, the Romney campaign is over. Done. Running 4.1 percentage points behind the president, as of Friday morning in the RCP average he is deader than a doornail. 

I don't believe it.

[Check out editorial cartoons about President Obama.]

Yes. Yes. I've seen all those polls in the average: Rasmussen, Fox, Gallup, Bloomberg, Politico, National Journal, Associated Press. Today, only Rasmussen and AP show the race effectively tied. Politico shows a three-point spread, but with the president ahead and receiving that magical 50 percent level of support. National Journal also shows Obama at 50 percent, as does Gallup. Meanwhile, Fox, Gallup, Bloomberg, and National Journal all record the gap between the candidates between 5 and 6 percentage points, easily outside the margin of error. If you are a Republican (no surprise for anyone, I am) the response to such numbers is a massive gulp. Somebody hand me smelling salts.

Still, I see those numbers, and I scratch my head. For Rasmussen this morning reported that, of the two candidates, 51 percent of voters trust Mitt Romney more on the economy. Only 44 percent trust Barack Obama more. Wasn't the economy supposed to be driving this election?

Well, maybe all those preparing to cast their ballots feel Obama will keep them and their families safer than will Romney. But that's not what people are telling Bloomberg pollsters. Again according to reports out Friday, the GOP nominee has a six percentage point (48-42) advantage over the president on which candidate would be tougher on terrorism.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Can Mitt Romney Best Barack Obama on Foreign Policy?]

The president was leading by a mile on the handling of terrorism until the Libyan attacks, the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and the all but total discrediting of his policies on that score. It probably doesn't help Obama either to have delivered a major address to the United Nations this week continuing to blame a YouTube film. Then the next day the Fox News reported that the White House knew from day one that the film had nothing to do with the assult the day after it happened. Al Qaeda-associated jihadists had staged a well-planned, carefully organized, heavily armed, highly sophisticated attack to—as the Libyan president told reporters—coincide with the anniversary of the 2001 attack on New York City and Washington, D.C.

Of course, the same could be said of the president's economic policy. What was he thinking? As Jay Leno put it Thursday night, "We wasted four years waiting for Obama to do something about the economy," and he didn't. He dithered away the months imposing on the country a mandatory and bank-breaking health program that the country didn't and still doesn't want. In an economy that depends for its growth on new business creation (100 percent of the net new jobs in the United States since 1980 have come from companies that are five years old or less), he wants to raise taxes and impose even more onerous and capricious regulations, crushing for small firms.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

The other big driver of the economy all these decades has been global trade, both imports and exports. Nearly 30 percent of American manufacturing output is currently exported. And now because of the changing value of currencies, transportation costs and the increased productivity of American manufacturers, we are seeing U.S. companies expand stateside output and contract operations overseas. 

Yet even as, under the imperatives of a difficult international economy, U.S. producers have become more globally competitive, the Obama administration has not negotiated a single new free trade agreement with any country on earth. China has concluded something like 21.

The consequences of this feckless frolic through economic wonderland was evident this week in the revised GDP growth numbers. The original numbers were bad enough. The revised numbers showed effectively no growth: 0.1 percent in July.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

How do you have comparative trust numbers on the most urgent issues of the day like those of Romney and Obama—along with such a sorry performance in one policy area after another—and expect anything other than a tie or lead in the race for Romney? It is not plausible.

Ah, but the swing states are for the president, Friday's Washington Post told us. Really?

In recent years the pollster who most nearly hit the final voting results and had the least volatility in his numbers was Scott Rasmussen. What spreads is he showing in the key battlegrounds?

Let's see: Florida, two percentage points separate the candidates; Virginia, one point; Ohio, one point; New Hampshire three points (Romney ahead); Iowa, three points (Romney ahead); Missouri, three points (Romney ahead); Colorado, two points (Romney ahead).

[PHOTOS: Obama, Romney Chow Down on the Campaign Trail.]

To me, this does not sound like a race that is almost over. Maybe it's time for our friends in the MSMosphere to take a break for a reality check. 

Big issues of the day are at stake. When it comes to electing a president, Americans are a serious minded people. Our current administration has been a failure. The people are thinking seriously of calling for a change.

  • Read Sydney Finkelstein: What Obama and Romney Must Do to Win
  • Read Mary Kate Cary: The Liberal Media Is Ignoring Romney's Strength With Independents
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy