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Impressions of the Debate

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Meade » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:21 pm

Slick Willy wrote:Obama's ball of yarn is unraveling, but hopefully not fast enough to lose come next Tuesday.

Don't buy into those confirmed GOP voter suppression shenanigans, Slick. Next Tuesday is one week early, no matter what the evil Republicans tell you.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Bludgeon » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:26 pm

Kurt_W wrote:Gosh, I don't know. You yourself seem to have no problem at all saying that Obama "lost" the first debate ... But somehow when it comes to the other debates, the concept of "winning" or "losing" gets all postmodern-y.

I think we're talking about different things, I'll try to explain.

Not wanting to be ungracious, if your assertion is that Obama scored more points in the 2nd/3rd debates, I can see where that's a valid perception. If we're going to look at it another way and be subjective, yes Obama won for liberals and Romney won for conservatives. Each candidate's arguments are disqualified by our subjective ideology; because we think ours is right, the other guy lost. Maybe for Democrats, beyond subjectivity they see it as, Obama was more aggressive *and* they agree with him, so he won.

I look at it as: who gained the most ground with voters? So I said,
I would characterize Obama as losing the second two debates in the tactical sense. Instead of Romney having to work to raise himself to the stature of the president, the president threw his advantage away on purpose to try to lower them both. It's irrelevant to me how "low" Mitt Romney may be in the mind of the average lefty; but it's significant to me to note that, however low that may be, the president (at liberals' behest) lowered himself right down there. In what way that's meant to improve the prospects of his campaign, I'd be glad to hear.

If I say he lost it in the tactical sense that doesn't mean I'm saying he lost it in the frame of winning or losing the debate itself; rather, losing it in the sense of failing to acheive what this sort of debate is actually meant to accomplish with the electorate. I'm saying, if it was 'who scored the most points' that generated votes, the polls should be back where they were after the DNC.

Romney's strategy was to take the punchy Obama performance they knew was coming in the last two debates and turn it to his positional advantage.

So he let Obama "come after him," which only lowered the president. Barack spent the last two debates trying to inflict damage on the challenger; the challenger spent the last two debates making a huge lunge to the middle, playing tit for tat with a shrinking POTUS but driving home the point that he's a moderate who will work with Democrats and Republicans; and because of the antagonistic position assumed by the incumbent he did so while easily seeming just as presidential as Obama. A tactical victory in the game of the election.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby pjbogart » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:40 pm

Bludgeon, claiming that Romney won all three debates because his numbers were improved from where they started in early October is quite a stretch. For one, Obama was riding high after a successful convention and the general perception that the Republican convention was a bit of a dud. The conventional wisdom was that Obama was heading for a landslide. Romney was close in some of the swing State polls, but he was losing in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, even North Carolina.

I think the debates, the first one in particular, revived Romney in the eyes of a lot of people that had written him off. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that even if he had lost that debate in the minds of voters, his polling numbers still would have improved. As it was, he did very well, seemed Presidential and received a significant boost. Perception of Romney was fundamentally altered after that debate and altered in such a way that couldn't be easily reversed. Obama's rebound performances in the next two debates literally had no chance of reintroducing Romney as the stumbling loser he was before the first debate.

So yeah, Romney probably won the debate season as a whole because it allowed him to redefine himself in the eyes of voters. The President could never hope to achieve such a feat because he's a known commodity.

The polls are locked up again with the President receiving an advantage only by watching the electoral college. Which is right where we were before the conventions.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby HawkHead » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:31 pm

Here is my big take from the debate:

ROMNEY: The good news is (inaudible). I'd be happy to have you take a look. Come on our website. You look at how we get to a balanced budget within eight to 10 years. We do it by getting -- by reducing spending in a whole series of programs. By the way, number one I get rid of is Obamacare.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/pre ... d=17538888

Romney admits that he won't balance the budget even if he gets two terms.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby kurt_w » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:36 pm

Earlier this week, a couple of commenters referred to Romney's "momentum" or suggested that Romney was gaining in the polls.

I pushed back on that idea:

kurt_w wrote:It sure looks to me like Romney's gains after the first debate came to an abrupt halt about two weeks ago. Since October 10: [... various polling data snipped ...]

Are there any reasonably well respected polling aggregators out there that actually show "Romney still gaining"? [...]

Neither candidate seems to have a lot of momentum right now, but insofar as there's any detectable trend over the past two weeks, it's been a slight shift back towards Obama.


Today, FiveThirtyEight says that, yes, Romney's gains have stopped (and actually begun to reverse):

Oct. 24: In Polls, Romney’s Momentum Seems to Have Stopped

Look at this graph (which I've added notations on):

Image

Clearly, Romney's gains were pretty much bounded by the interval between the first and second (VP) debates. One might say that Joe Biden saved Obama's butt in that debate. Of course, Obama managed to do fine in the 3rd and 4th debates, so there was no tilt back towards Romney.

It's a close race, and could certainly go either way. But for now, Obama is ahead, and either he's (slowly) increasing this lead, or the trend is flat. There's no sign of a trend in Romney's favor over the past two weeks.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Huckleby » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:41 pm

kurt_w wrote:Look at this graph (which I've added notations on):


That graph is of a left wing blogger's home-brewed conception of each candidate's chances of winning!

I love Nate Silver's blog, his analysis is always plausible and impressive, at least to me. I hunger for his each and every new release, it's a great pick-me-up in a sea of often anxiety-provoking polls, it serves as a "stiffening" shot of whiskey when courage is flagging.

You've been posting for many days that Obama is on the march, if I may paraphrase. The most objective referee we have is real clear politics average of polls, and they have Romney ahead the last several days. Perhaps Romney's momentum is halted, but even that is not absolutely clear.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls ... -1171.html

I am dying to see what happens between now and Sunday in rcp average. There is a chance the polls will start picking-up some steam for Obama from 3rd debate, since most of those polls are taken over 7 days. Plus the release of his shiny brochure "Plan for the future" or whatever it is called. I'm not being sarcastic, I thinking laying out his economic plan in writing answers a criticism that has been hurting.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Slick Willy » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:49 pm

Huckleby wrote: The most objective referee we have is real clear politics average of polls, and they have Romney ahead the last several days.

Actually, not according to their electoral college map.
RCP ELECTORAL MAP
Romney was ahead for the last week on RCP until today. Now it has Obama ahead 201 to 191 with 11 states up for grabs. Of those 11 toss-up states, Obama is ahead in 7 of them, with Ohio being the most important.

It's still way too close to call, but the new found excitement for Romeny after the first debate seems to have settled, and now it's just a matter of turnout.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Huckleby » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:19 pm

Slick Willy wrote:Actually, not according to their electoral college map.
RCP ELECTORAL MAP
Romney was ahead for the last week on RCP until today. Now it has Obama ahead 201 to 191 with 11 states up for grabs. Of those 11 toss-up states, Obama is ahead in 7 of them, with Ohio being the most important.

It's still way too close to call, but the new found excitement for Romeny after the first debate seems to have settled, and now it's just a matter of turnout.

I hope we have a little change in momentum this week.

It is all so confusing, Take a look at ABC-Washington Post poll showing Romney with surge in last 3 days:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the ... -obama-47/

You can say it is just one poll, but it is several individual poll measurements trending for Romney, using same methodology.

I think everything is very ambiguous now. Smart people on both sides are looking at data and concluding things are turning their way.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Radical Cheerleader » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:53 am

Huckleby wrote:You can say it is just one poll, but it is several individual poll measurements trending for Romney, using same methodology.

Well, RCP is several individual national polls, and they're not trending toward Romney. Gallup had Romney ahead by 7 points last week, and now it's only 3. Rasmussen had Romney ahead by 5 points last week, and now only 3 points as well. Those were Obama's worst national polls, and now they're not looking so bad.

The Huffington Post includes state polls as well as national polls. Here's their comprehensive electoral map, which clearly shows Obama with an advantage: http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/201 ... ctoral-map

Intrade dropped into the low 50s for the President a few days ago, and now it has him back over 62%: http://www.intrade.com/v4/misc/scoreboard/

If it were the popular vote that won elections, I'd be more worried for President Obama right now, but the Electoral College is definitely looking good for the Pres, and certainly better than it has for the last few weeks. Obama had his sharp dip, but he clearly seems to be rebounding now.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Huckleby » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:35 am

Radical Cheerleader wrote: Well, RCP is several individual national polls, and they're not trending toward Romney.


I monitor the RCP averge like a gambler watches the tote board at the race track. It most certainly has trended to Romney the past week. Well, I shouldn't say "most certainly", since we are dealing with a percentage point or so, but I'm anxiously waiting for a little Obama bounce.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls ... -1171.html

Radical Cheerleader wrote:Electoral College is definitely looking good for the Pres, and certainly better than it has for the last few weeks. Obama had his sharp dip, but he clearly seems to be rebounding now.


"Rebound"? Ya, Mitt's surge from the first debate has ended.

Forget the electoral college. Electoral college projections really are not worth a damn, even though EC is everything in the end. Ya, Obama has a tiny edge in popular vote in enough states that it looks like he has comfortable lead in electoral college. This is a false sense of security. The chances of Obama winning electoral college and losing popular vote are tiny. In election that close, predicting is impossible anyway. Watch trends in popular vote more than who is leading, because the candidate that has a little bit of momentum near the end will win.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Radical Cheerleader » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:53 am

Huckleby wrote:It most certainly has trended to Romney the past week.

Huckleby wrote:Watch trends in popular vote more than who is leading, because the candidate that has a little bit of momentum near the end will win.

Watch trends in the swing states, because that's all that matters. If red states are trending even further toward Romney, which is what's been happening, that has no effect on the election. If swing states are trending toward President Obama, which is what's been happening, then this is why RCP flipped from giving Romney the lead in the Electoral college a few days ago to giving Obama the advantage back again. I could easily see Obama doing better with electoral votes than with the popular vote, no matter how rare it is to win one and lose the other.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Huckleby » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:21 am

Radical Cheerleader wrote: Watch trends in the swing states, because that's all that matters. If red states are trending even further toward Romney, which is what's been happening, that has no effect on the election.


What you are saying is how most people look at things. I get it. It makes sense from a purely numbers standpoint.

I maintain that a shift towards Romney in Texas has some predictive value in New Hampshire. Remember, the people at the margins who are doing the shifting tend to be disinterested in politics, they are reacting emotionally to feelings about the candidate. Local politics and bias are already baked-in to the numbers.

Keep in mind that the final results may be quite different from the polling. Look at the recent Walker landslide in the recall. The absolute numbers don't mean so much, look for trends in national number - they will be reflected in movement at most state levels.

The proof is in the pudding: electoral college only trumps the popular vote when the margin of victory in both is razer thin. This year will be no different. If the margin is that close, throw all predictions out the window.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby Bludgeon » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:15 pm

Larry Sabato weighs in on the debates:

...Romney’s new image and positioning in the race — moderate, reasonable and focused on problem-solving — make him a far more acceptable alternative than he once was, and that has made it easier for voters to focus their attention during the final month of the campaign on the president and his record, which remains mixed.
Obama’s better performances during the second and third debates did not change the fact that the first debate fundamentally altered voters’ opinions of the challenger....

My own reaction on Monday night to the question of who won the debate was very different: Ask me in a few days, after a handful of reliable surveys show how the public evaluates the candidates. Then I’ll have some idea who won.

Yes, the president probably “won” the debate on points if a debating society scored the result.

But political debates aren’t academic exercises where students receive good grades for performing the way their textbooks or professors say they should. And they aren’t high school wrestling matches where the aggressor scores points and automatically wins the match.

Debates are about improving a candidate’s chances of winning an election, and it was far from clear on Monday evening how, or whether, the debate would affect voters’ intentions.
For example, I’m skeptical that Romney needed to “differentiate” himself from the president on foreign policy. If Romney wins the election, it is likely to be because of the economy, not foreign policy.

If that is true, he simply needed to demonstrate to voters — not to Joe Klein — that he could handle national security and defense issues capably, much as Reagan had to do in 1980.

Polling immediately after the debate certainly wasn’t decisive, and “quickie” polls should always be viewed skeptically, as should any survey results gathered during or immediately after a major event.

Still, it’s clear that since the first week in October, both the national polls and swing-state polls have shown Romney’s percentage of the vote growing and the president’s slipping. The national polls are about even.
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Re: Impressions of the Debate

Postby kurt_w » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:26 pm

I more or less agree with everything Sabato says there, up to the last paragraph which is not really correct. The polls did show Romney gaining, and the president slipping, very dramatically, during the first week of October. But that stopped abruptly sometime around Oct. 10. For the past two weeks there has been no real trend in the polls, or perhaps a slight rebound back in Obama's favor.
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