The Bread and Peace model predicts that based on the fundamentals, Barack Obama should lose to Mitt Romney. However, when one looks at current opinion polls, it is Obama who has maintained a steady lead. So why is Romney doing so badly and what can he do about it?
Romney’s problem is the same one that John McCain faced in 2008, that he just does not seem to be able to take the lead in the polls. By this time in 2008, McCain too had been steadily lagging behind Barack Obama ever since the two of them had sewn up their respective nominations, and nothing seemed to be shifting the numbers significantly, as can be seen from this graph of poll averages from June 1 through August 1.
Now compare the above graph with this year’s election poll averages for the same period.
The similarities are striking. The big difference is that while McCain’s numbers were consistent with the expectations of the Bread and Peace model, Romney should be ahead and thus is significantly under-performing. It cannot be a comfortable situation for him.
If Romney were a political scientist, he may have been able to grit his teeth and hope that the fundamentals will win out on election day and that he will coast to victory as long as he does not do anything rash. But seeming to be permanently stuck behind is always a temptation to do something, anything, to shake things up and avoid looking like an inevitable loser this early in the game. The Europe trip may have been one attempt that did not work out as planned and I suspect that in the coming days he will try other ways to make a splash.