4) Reality matters. The Obama campaign can air all the ads it wants, but advertising doesn’t dent facts. By every measure, the American economy is terrible. No president has ever run for re-election with an unemployment rate this high and a growth rate this low. Conservatives complain that the media downplay Obama’s bad economic numbers, and they’re right. But it may not matter. The public already knows. As one GOP consultant put it, “If you’re living outside the Green Zone, you don’t need to turn on CNN to see how the war’s going. You’re living it.”
People outside of Manhattan, Nantucket and Northwest DC see the effects of Obama’s economic policies every day, in the empty homes and storefronts they pass on their way to buy groceries and gas that cost twice what they did four years ago. It’s bad out there. Will voters want to reward Obama for this? Maybe not.
5) The consensus is often wrong, sometimes spectacularly so. How many people do you know who predicted that John Roberts would vote to uphold Obamacare? That Bush would tie Gore? That the Soviet Union would collapse or Facebook would lose 50 percent of its value in three months? Crowds are indeed wise, except when they’re moronic. Keep that in mind the next time you notice that everyone you know believes the same thing, including that Romney will lose. It could be time to bet against them.
None of this should suggest that the Romney campaign isn’t in trouble. It is, mostly because Romney himself is a weak candidate. On the other hand, Obama has been a truly bad president. And that fact may turn out to be decisive.