Oct 1, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from Mediaite: With the first debate of the general election approaching, surrogates and campaign staffers for both President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have been conspicuously talking down their candidate’s prospects for success. At times, the effort to manage voters’ expectations has verged on the comical. The intention of the expectations game is to convince voters that it will be a respectable night if their candidate manages to avoid passing out on camera or breaking down in tears amid a tough line of questioning. But the voters do not seem to be listening. They have a set impression in their minds, and at least one poll suggests that impression is that the President holds a distinct advantage over Romney heading into the debates.
But the public does not seem to be listening to the professional politicians managing performance expectations. Aside from showing Obama leading Romney by 50 to 41 percent among likely voters, a Washington Times/Zogby poll released Sunday shows 49 percent of voters believe that President Obama is more likely to win Wednesday night’s debate while only 26 percent said the same of Romney. Among independent voters, 46 percent say Obama will win compared to just 17 percent for Romney.
But what would you expect? The past four months of political news coverage have focused on Mitt Romney as a spectacular gaffe machine. Starting during his trip abroad and accelerating over the course of the general election campaign, the media’s focus has been almost entirely on the GOP nominee’s misstatements, poor phrasing or offensive off-hand remarks. Rarely has Romney’s policy preferences been the subject of extended debate.