253 and Counting

05.14.12

Real Clear Politics Declares Race Almost Over

When last I checked the RCP Electoral College Map, for a May 3 piece trying to explain why the Electoral College favored the Potus, I noted that the conservative-leaning but open-minded and ecumenical web site was giving 227 EV's to Obama as either solids or leaners, and Willard M. Romney was getting 170 in those two categories. The site had 141 EV's from 11 states as toss-ups.

I just looked for the first time since, at 3:30 on Monday. New numbers: Obama 253, Romney the same 170, toss-ups 115. I don't have and don't know how to find a cached version to see what's flipped, but obviously, 26 EV's have. You know, of course, that 253 would put Obama just 17 EV's away from reelection. RCP still has Virginia in the toss-up category, even though Obama has been leading that state by several points in every recent poll I've seen. Throwing in Virginia would give Obama 266, putting him four votes away.

Yeah yeah it's early. We do have yet to see the impact of the gay-marrriage business in the polls. Maybe that will put a couple of states back in play. But it's gotta be pretty disheartening for Romneyites and Republicans to look at this site, a site that is run by fellow Republicans, and see numbers like these, with Obama flirting with 270 before the general election campaign has really even begun.

All this raises for me (again) the jerk question I explored over the weekend. How is Romney going to reintroduce himself to the public in a more favorable light? I really have no idea. It's a very strange case of a man who has led a basically honorable life, but it's a life that makes for an utterly uncompelling narrative because a) there was no adversity in the ways the rest of us understand that term, either financially or having to battle for acceptance somewhere and b) to the extent there is nuance and complication, he can't really talk about it because it will merely remind people of how he's changed his views.

Abortion is a case in point here. There's that very sad-seeming story of the relative of his who died during a botched abortion procedure. He once spoke about that, and it filled the family-hardship slot very well. But he can't mention it now, because he used to say that that incident was the reason he was pro-choice. Back when he was pro-choice. Except he never was. That was his wife! How dare you!

See what I mean?

It still might be a close race. Hey, he still might win, I guess. And it is also possible that Republicans wake up on Wednesday November 7 and say to one another, "By gum, maybe we just should have gone ahead and nominated Santorum."