Here is a preview of the upcoming campaign for president between the current President and his opposition challenger:
This will be the dirtiest campaign of your lifetime. The campaigns of these two candidates will spend an enormous amount of time ripping each other to shreds in the media and the third party Super PACs and special interest groups will spend hundreds of millions of dollars demonizing their policy opponent. The campaign will go to a dark and devisive place faster than any in recent memory.
Obama's has more paths to victory in the Electoral College race to 270 votes than Romney. Of Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada, Obama only needs to win 3 or 4 of these to reach 270. Romney must win at least 6 to get close to 270. Romney has little room for error, Obama has more breathing room.
While there are more swing states than in recent elections, the campaigns will likely zone in on 4 or 5 and stake the election there. Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada are almost certainly going to make the final cut.
Obama's best path to victory is a divide and conquer strategy. He has to motivate his base and democratic leaning independents to feverishly turn against conservatism in all its forms and philosophies. The President has a minimal record of accomplishment to run on, thus to win he must find a scapegoat and lambaste them so he can blame someone else for his underwhelming record.
Romney will spend a lot of time campaigning with GOP house and senate candidates as security for the party in case he loses. The party can still have a good election night even with a Romney loss, if they hold the House and capture a majority in the Senate.
Obama is going to be a one man show. He and his camp could care less about Congress and won't use the President in many races to help Democrat candidates.
Romney's VP pick will be scrutinized for inconsistencies and scandal, so a bad choice could scuttle his fragile campaign.
Obama's biggest positives are his personal and family appeal. A majority of Americans like the Obamas and identify with them. A majority agree with the President's handling of foreign affairs and the international community. The President's is a superior campaigner and orator with the ability to whip up a crowd on the campaign trail.
Romney's biggest positives are his experience, his looks and his wife. People like Ann and they want their President to look like a sharp businessman. It may seem silly, but every poll pans out that fact. His experience as governor and senior business executive allow him to pass the smell test on his ability to do the job of President. He still needs to pass the Commander-in-Chief test by showing a firm grasp on military and foreign affairs questions, but assuming he does, people can envision him as the President. His record as a "turn=around" artist will work in his favor as long as the U.S. economy stays in the doldrums without much momentum.
Obama's biggest weakness is his record, specifically the perceived lack of economic growth and the health care reform mess that most people are still confused by. The President has gained the reputation as a poor policy communicator with the American public and is perceived by many as cold, distant and aloof. His negative tone has tarnished his once positive luster as a fresh face in a stale town.
Romney's biggest weakness is the perception that he is out of touch with average Americans and has no idea what working families in America are dealing with today. He is considered disingenuous and lacking core philosophical positions. He has not shaken the perception that he is a slick businessman without a heart who will change his positions on a dime to make certain people happy.
While most politicos believe this race will be won or lost by a razor think margin, I think a landslide either way is not out of the question.
If the economy hits another rough patch or foreign conflicts take a decidedly anti-American turn, Obama's approval rating will plummet and he could lose as many as 33 or 34 states. If the economy does pick up strength, the U.S. achieves more foreign policy successes and Romney fails to shake his elitism problem, Obama could capture all the swing states and open up a 100+ electoral vote victory.
One thing we know for sure is that the race will be long, bitter, painful, angry and full of stunning moments. Let's hope the country avoids the temptation to just check out of the process and sit out this election.
Filed under: National Goverment