Politics for me is a sport. It’s about influencing public opinion, and sometimes it involves tackling ’em hard, giving them a fight, conquering the opposition and winning. I root for my candidates like a football fan roots for their team. I’m a bit of a geek, but I’m still 100% male. I prefer for presidential debate than a football game.
And it just so happened that 10 million testosterone-filled guys weren’t joining me on Monday night. They were watching Monday Night Football. Did the presidential candidates consider this? I believe Romney did. He already persuaded the football fans in the first debate that he’s got a backbone. Their wives would be gathered together watching the debates, and he needed to convince them he had a heart.
It just so happens that women was the demographic he needed to capture. Romney’s “underperformance” on Monday night may not have been much of a blunder at all. There are probably more, but here are three significant details of the debate that shows Romney focused on this audience, and Obama not.
- Romney mentioned peace 14 times. Obama didn’t once.
- Romney reminded people that a strong economy means strength abroad. Obama schooled Romney about how to be tough abroad.
- Romney insisted that you can’t kill yourself out of problems. Obama proudly reminded us that he killed Osama bin Laden.
Do you see how this worked to Romney’s favor? Obama may have won some guys over, but most of them were watching football. Romney dug into Obama’s greatest demographic advantage, women, and appeared to be the more stately of the two. Obama may have won debate points, but he lost the larger goals of the debate.
There were at least two goals: (1) attract the undecideds and (2) dig into your opponent’s strongholds. I’m convinced that Romney accomplished this much better than Obama. The candidates should not have been concerned with revving up their base or scoring points. Ignore the audience; focus on the judge who needs to check the correct box on her ballot.
The Results Prove This True
I gave these past two posts a lot of thought (read Part I here). Thanks for intellectually hanging in there with me. Gallup and Rasmussen are showing Romney over the 50% mark, this for the first time with Rasmussen.
This is significant. If these polls are accurate (and they are the most respected polls with the best track record), this is devastating for Barack Obama. If he won every single undecided vote, he’d still lose the popular vote.
And Romney won the undecided vote on Monday. Who cares if he lost with pundits and debate coaches. In the end. that’s what makes Romney the winner.