Mitt Romney will be the Next U.S. President Site: Grove Park Inn, Asheville; October 4, 2012. Event: North Carolina Forestry Association Annual Meeting. Scene: Audience member asks, “John, you said this morning that Romney would be the next President. Have you changed your opinion recently? If so, when and why?” Answer: “Yes, I changed
Mitt Romney will be the Next U.S. President
Site: Grove Park Inn, Asheville; October 4, 2012.
Event: North Carolina Forestry Association Annual Meeting.
Scene: Audience member asks, “John, you said this morning that Romney would be the next President. Have you changed your opinion recently? If so, when and why?”
Answer: “Yes, I changed my opinion last night after the presidential debate in Denver … because of two words: unity and enthusiasm. Up until then, Republicans were not united or enthusiastic about Romney. Today they are.”
Friday, October 26, 2012 Vol. V, No. 36 1:13 pm
Dedicated to the memory of Bob Slocum, Jr., Executive Vice President of the North Carolina Forestry Association, who died October 16, 2012
On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, Mitt Romney will be elected President of the United States.
Two powerful forces at play argue for a Romney win. One, Republicans are united and enthusiastic about Romney. For Romney not just against Obama. Two, President Obama’s 2008 base of support is not united and not enthusiastic. Disappointed.
The turning point was the first presidential debate in Denver. Romney won by a record 72% according to Gallup’s national survey of debate watchers. Only 20% thought Obama won.
- Romney’s 52-point win is the largest presidential debate win Gallup has ever measured
- In 2008, Gallup showed Obama as the winner in all three debates over John McCain
On October 3, 2012, Mitt Romney accomplished something every conservative in American would have loved to have done: he defeated President Barack Obama, a liberal, in an ideological argument about the economy in front of 67 million people. Enthusiasm kindled. Unity fused.
Reluctant Republicans joined with Romney stalwarts. Religious right Republicans. Tea Party Republicans. Libertarian Republicans. Business moderate Republicans. United. Excited.
The results were apparent right away. According to the Washington Post-ABC News Poll conducted October 10-13, the number of Romney voters “Very enthusiastic” about supporting him is 62%, up from 48% in late September and 26% in late May. In other words, enthusiasm for Romney among his supporters has grown by 161% since the May survey.
An even more significant number in the poll in measuring Romney’s potential: only 31% of John McCain’s supporters were “very enthusiastic” about him in October of 2008; Romney 62%.
For emphasis: After the first debate, Mitt Romney’s “very enthusiastic” support percent doubled that of John McCain’s at the same time four years ago.
- 31% of John McCain’s supporters were “very enthusiastic” about him in October 2008
- 62% of Mitt Romney’s supporters are “very enthusiastic” about him in October 2012
First Signs of Disenchantment with Obama came in Fall 2009
Disenchantment in the Obama camp was evident within months of his inauguration in 2009. According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval after his first week in office was 69%. By that fall, his job approval had plummeted to 50%. Year-end, 48%.
Two states had governors races in the fall of 2009. Despite personal visits and impassioned appeals by Obama, Republicans won in Virginia and New Jersey. Low turnout among African-Americans. Low turnout among young people. Shifting loyalties of independent voters.
According to exit polling:
- Only 8% of the 18-to-24-year-old voters turned out in New Jersey (17% in 2008)
- Only 10% of the 18-to-24-year-olds turned out in Virginia (21% in 2008).
Virginia gubernatorial winner Bob McDonnell received 62% of the independent votes, with Democrat Creigh Deeds capturing only 37%. In New Jersey, GOP gubernatorial winner Chris Christie received 58% of the independent votes, with Democrat Corzine capturing only 31%.
Then came the special election for U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts in January 2010. Victory denied. Obama’s influence again ignored. That fall, American voters flipped 65 U.S. House seats from Democrat to Republican. Largest gain by either party since 1948.
Where were the enthusiastic Obama volunteers from 2008? Vanished in the fog of uncertainty that accompanies unemployment and underemployment.
On October 8, a new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll concluded: “The percentages among key Democratic constituencies who say they are extremely likely to vote should cause concern in Chicago: While 82 percent of whites (who break for Romney by a 15-point margin) say they’re “extremely likely” to vote, only 71 percent of African-Americans and 70 percent of Latinos do. And just 68 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds, another key Obama constituency, put themselves in the “extremely likely” to vote category.” Disappointed.
I did not see the enthusiasm and unity for Romney coming
Throughout this election cycle, I have hesitated to call the race for Romney because of two critical factors: Republican unity and Republican enthusiasm. They were in doubt. Despite growing signs of a disenchanted Obama base, there were still simply too many Republicans who doubted Romney’s conservative bona fides.
Then came Wednesday, October 3, 2012; University of Denver. Mitt Romney accomplished something every conservative in America would have loved to have done: he defeated President Barack Obama, a liberal, in an ideological argument about the economy in front of 67 million people. Enthusiasm kindled. Unity fused.
I watched the debate in my room at the Grove Park Inn, the same hotel where President Obama stayed in 2008 when he prepared for his first debate against John McCain. I was there for a speech to the Annual Meeting of the North Carolina Forestry Association. The speech was written; the PowerPoint presentation was prepared saying Obama would win a second term.
Then came Mitt Romney’s 52-point win in the first presidential debate. Largest presidential debate win Gallup has ever measured. The same Barack Obama who had won all three debates against John McCain in 2008 just lost. Lost big.
I turned my laptop on and opened my PowerPoint presentation. For the first time in this election cycle I typed, “Romney likely winner of U.S. Presidential race.” I had always said that he would carry North Carolina. Now, I believed he would take it all.
After my speech to the Forestry Association the next morning, during the Q&A, a member of the audience asked, “John, you said this morning that Romney would be the next President. Have you changed your opinion recently? If so, when and why?”
I replied, “Yes, I changed my opinion last night after the presidential debate in Denver … because of two words: unity and enthusiasm. Up until then, Republicans were not united or enthusiastic about Romney. Today they are.”
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