As the Presidential race continues towards the end of summer and the start of the conventions in due time, the race appears to have started to tighten a bit. Over this two week period President Obama has lost a bit of ground, probably due to his gaffes and negative campaigning, something he dodged entirely in 2008. Mitt Romney appears to have caught up a bit but still lags overall. His failure to take on the President has been sort of a cat and mouse situation all summer with neither side wanting to go all-in this soon. A criticism of Romney’s during the primary campaign was how soft he was in the early contests with no hard hitting. Florida changed that and he paid a bit later in the contest but eventually won.
I suspect that neither side wants to put the gloves on so soon. Though President Obama seems to be struggling to find a message behind an ailing economy and continually disappointing jobs numbers. Another slow report in Aug. and/or Sept. could be pretty damning to his campaign. His efforts have fallen behind attacking Romney of late. Something I suspect doesn’t sit well with voters looking for that same Hope and Change message of 2008. Also this struggling for a message has caused the most notable gaffe to date “you didn’t build that”.
Romney on the other hand is slow playing. Currently he’s on an under-publicized foreign trip, certainly compared to 2008 when then Sen. Obama was stopping for photo-ops and speeches in front of hundreds of thousands. All of this leaves us wondering when Romney will ever join the fight. He’s been careful not to lay out too many positions this early as to avoid any pitfalls in the fall. At the same time he’s been sort of off the mind of voters, something I suspect he intends so that they’re not over-saturated come election time in the fall.
Overall I think the President is suffering from his economic situation right now and is struggling to make the campaign about Mitt Romney, which is failing in these recent weeks. As more negative news about the economy surfaces, his numbers steadily decline. Romney seems to be sitting back deflecting blows with a rope-a-dope strategy in play. Trying by not trying, and thus allowing the election to be about what the voters care about, the economy. This of course plays into his wheelhouse rather than jumping at side issues like immigration, gay rights, or gun control.