Focus on Who You Need to Convince

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.

We spent Monday night watching the Presidential Debates. Where were 10 million others?

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Did I call it? DID I CALL IT OR WHAT???? “Romney closes gender gap”:–election.html

    • JDK

      Actually, this poll also said that Obama closed his male gender gap by 13% in a month.

  • margie

    Do you actual think that people, women specifically are stupid enough to believe the “new Romney” – He still believes women are not entitled to equal work for equal pay, he believe in less government except where women’ s health issues are concerned, the candidate makes Shallow Hal look like a man of integrity. It is a historic fact that peace wins, everything the last two versions of Romney spoke about was based on invading and war, someone told him to tone it down, while he tried to remember what country was what he agreed with Obama, come on Chris, do you to follow the belief that if you say it people are stupid enough to believe it therefor, it must be true?

    • I sort of agree with you, Margie. Women do believe Romney. But it’s because they are SMART. They’re more compassionate and caring and thoughtful, too.

      I challenge you to something: stop listening to the Obama ads. Most of your comment is a parroting of Democrat attack ads. Better yet, watch a few Romney or Ryan speeches. They make a tremendous amount of sense.

      • JDK

        When someone takes the time to comment, is it fair to say that they are “parroting” this or that, just because you don’t agree with them?

      • margie

        Hi Chris, Lets clear up a few things, first I am in NY and simple put we are not treated to the pleasure of the ads, our TV and radio ads contain virtually zero political messages, and that is pretty clear the great state of NY is just a given for the President, so there is -0- dollars being invested here. I am not parroting Democrat attack ads, because I do not get to see them, can you imagine that I would be able to make these conclusions all by myself. I have watched the debates, done a lot of reading of all types, listened to Romney or Ryans speeches, and cringe when I here positions change (Romney), on a daily basis. He has changed his position on every major political topic out there, every single one. Can you name a position he continues to hold firm since he started his bid 5 years ago, every single position he changes daily to meet the immediate needs of who he is speaking to. You say SMART, compassionate, caring, thoughtful women believe in Romney. What makes them compassionate? Caring? Is it because they serve God, Man and their Children? I would venture to say when its all over, what we will find on the statistics is the higher the education level, the higher the vote for Obama. Simple look at the maps, that both Fox and MSNBC have out and compare post grad education with voting. There is a direct correlation on the projected voting with education, less educated = higher Romney, More education= Obama. In terms of compassionate, are we referring to abortion? Obviously we differ on this, and I believe you are entitled to your beliefs as I am to mine, How is it supporters of Romney are all about less government, but really into women’s health issues, I believe in a women’s right to choose, clearly you do not. Does that mean I am not compassionate? Caring and thoughtful? What precisely does that mean?

        I do wonder if Religion is not at the root of our differences!

      • Bea76

        Well I am a woman who is SMART, compassionate, caring, and thoughtful and I voted for Obama! We have no t.v since it burned so I only hear the backlash of ads. Here is my bottom line though – no candidate campaigns to the level any engineer wants. They all present wonderful plans with no details to evaluate said plans so it comes down to who you really trust. I don’t trust Romney. He wants less government but HE believes he has the right to make decisions about my health and that of my four daughters. I think not. Not a way to gain an intelligent woman’s vote.

  • JDK

    I don’t think you understand women. There aren’t certain “buzzwords” that they need to hear to make them feel understood and connected. Women (like men) are all different, and want to hear different things. Talking about “getting tough” or killing Osama bin Ladin is not going to be a turnoff to women–why would it? Your reasoning contains way too many gender stereotypes.

  • Wow, yesterday’s column by Charles Krauthammer says essentially the same thing. I was afraid perhaps I was being too optimistic for my guy, but the press & polls are backing me up:

  • Gaylene77

    I am a smart, compassionate and caring woman and I would NEVER vote for Obama. I don’t want ANY of my health care in the hands of the government. Just because Romney’s personal belief that abortion is wrong (which if you research he supports it in cases of rape and incest) does not mean that as a president he will be able to single handedly reverse Roe vs Wade. I mean really, if you believe that will happen if Romney is president then you don’t understand the process.
    Obama wants bigger government involvement in as many industries as he can get his hands on which will be the downfall of America. The more American citizens relying on the government for their needs (be it healthcare, help with energy costs, food stamps, etc.) the more justified the government is in taking, through taxation, our hard earned money.