Thursday, August 9, 2012

UK: Camp Romney remains excited and defiant

The Economist

The Romney campaign

Battle stations

Inside the Republican candidate’s Boston headquarters, despite disappointing polls, the mood is defiantly upbeat

Many Republican grandees blame the Romney campaign for the stalemate. The candidate, they complain, has failed to respond adequately to the Obama camp’s depiction of him as a callous corporate raider, who achieved success by trampling on hapless workers and outfoxing the taxman. He has struggled to shift the media’s attention from the minutiae of his personal finances and past career in private equity. That, in turn, is putting off voters in crucial swing states—or so the criticism runs.

But the Romney campaign remains defiant. It acknowledges that Mr Romney’s “favourability” ratings have been relatively low in recent weeks, under a steady bombardment of attack ads and negative press. That is worrying, since the candidate voters find more likeable usually wins. But the drop is both transient and immaterial, his staff argue; in the end, the race will hinge on the sorry state of the economy. Even though voters have not warmed to Mr Romney personally, they still view him as a more competent economic manager than the president—a worrying portent for Mr Obama. Since the economy has more bearing on voters’ daily lives than the personality of the president, they maintain, Mr Romney only has to be “likeable enough” to win.

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