The Romney campaign this morning put out a memo telling everyone to calm down, don’t worry, things are fine. Superficially, I agree. Bill Clinton helped Barack Obama more than Mitt Romney helped himself in the past few weeks. But the economic numbers are really not good and things on the horizon appear to be getting worse. Voters will start factoring in those variables in the coming week.
Along the way though there is an annoying trend of intellectual tomfoolery happening on the right.
Back in August, when David Axelrod and the Democrats were highly critical of the Gallup poll, the right loved the drama. Clearly there were problems with Team Obama and the polling accurately reflected it. Now, however, the trend is against Mitt Romney. Suddenly, those damn dirty pollsters are rigging the race against Mitt Romney.
What was good for Team Obama must be good for Team Romney. If the polling was accurate then, there is nothing to suggest it is somehow inaccurate now.
I’ve worked on many, many campaigns. I’ve witnessed even more than that. There is a common theme. When a campaign is behind, the pollster releases a memo explaining why they really are not that much behind and why there is nothing to worry about. It happened when Rick Perry began to slide. It happened when Newt Gingrich began to slide. It happened when Rick Santorum began to slide. It happened when John McCain began to slide in 2008. It happened when Hillary Clinton began to slide.
This is what campaigns do. I treat each and every one of them as an admission against interest that the campaign polling is going against them. It does not mean it is not recoverable. It does not mean they are toast. But it does mean that there are present factors working against them and they are trying to calm their base down. It also means, with the media focused on the polls to avoid talking about the economy, the Romney camp had to push something out.
It is happening now to Team Romney. Instead of beating up the pollsters or screaming that the media is out to get him (and they are, but still . . .) just calm down, recognize the reality, and send some money toward Team Romney or the RNC.
But there is no reason to take a batch of present polling and assume the game is rigged when last month you were celebrating it working against the Democrats. Sometimes the trends are just working against the candidate. Let the economic numbers sink in for the next week and then poll again.
In the meantime, the Super PACs, Team Romney, and the RNC should really be reminding people just how terrible the economic news is and show that Romney has a better way forward. It remains all about the economy.
Oh, and Romney and the RNC have a huge pile of money they are only now beginning to spend. Accept the lay of the land, folks. Just don’t panic about it.