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@abulsme Updates from 2012-10-04 (UTC)

  • Actually made it to the office for the first time in a few days, but left a little early to be home for the debates! #
  • Is there a hashtag I should be using for the debate live tweeting? :-) #
  • It is just me at home, with the debate on the projector covering a wall of our living room. Amy, Brandy, Alex giving me some space. :-) #
  • The Tivo picked CNBC for the debate. I’ll stick with them for the moment. Actual debate will be the same of course, just diff talking heads. #
  • And yes, I will be live tweeting under influence of hydrocodone (for the kidney stone). #
  • I’ve always thought it would be neat to produce a debate transcript with everything other than direct answers to the questions blacked out. #
  • Of course almost everything would be blacked out. #
  • CNBC has Ron Paul on. That’s nice. But who has Johnson or even Stein on? I’d switch to hear them. #
  • Debate would be better with Johnson and Stein in it. The three way with Perot in 92 was great. #
  • As mentioned in my electoral college updates & on Curmudgeon’s Corner, only way these debates make a difference is if someone screws up bad. #
  • Generally competent performance from both candidates = status quo = Obama wins the election. (Even if Romney “wins” the debate.) #
  • My blog is acting up. Annoying. #
  • Just followed @romneyresponse and @truthteam2012 to make sure I see the “rapid response” from both sides. #
  • Reading – The Digital Debate Stage (Andrew Sullivan) http://t.co/w2u5HeQl #
  • My twitter stream is accelerating. #
  • Shoulda ordered a pizza or something. Brandy is taking Alex to dinner and a movie. Amy is out doing teenage things. #
  • Reading – The real reasons the debates do matter (Jonathan Bernstein) http://t.co/kuZZzes3 #
  • Reading – Why the debates probably won’t matter (Jonathan Bernstein) http://t.co/hLUPIrTj #
  • Will Obama have a secret radio on his back like W did eight years ago? Wasn’t that the rumor? #ConspiracyTheories #
  • RT @rebliv @abulsme Not too late to make popcorn! #
  • .@rebliv Hmmm… that sounds good. I wonder if I can find our popper, or if it is still packed in a box in the garage. #
  • .@rebliv So far just eating a bagel and York peppermint patties. #HealthFood #
  • RT @rebliv @abulsme FLOTUS would not be impressed. #
  • Ten minutes. Woo! #
  • I’m watching via a Slingbox because, well, because… so I’m going to be like 30 seconds behind everyone else, which will be annoying. #
  • RT @indecision Debate rules: No clapping, no yelling, no meaningful discussion. #
  • Thought about taking some time to work on cleaning the living room. Then decided 6 minutes wasn’t enough time, so why bother. #
  • This is pretty much 100% politics as sport rather than anything about actual policy preferences or anything. #
  • Just looking for the excitement of someone taking a big spill and screwing up something big. Will probably be disappointed. #
  • So is #debates what we are supposed to use? :-) #
  • Here we go. So exciting. Woo! #
  • Tick Tock. #
  • RT @BenjySarlin omgomgomgomgomg #
  • Zingers! #
  • Here comes Jim. #
  • LoWV was better than CPD. #
  • LoWV was more independent. #
  • And they are in. Is this the first time they have met? #
  • RT @electionate Base election: Obama in blue tie, Romney red tie #
  • Oh do we have to do the thank you at the beginning? #
  • And the happy anniversary? #
  • I hate the off topic stuff. #
  • Obama is on script. I hope there are at least some questions that force them to think on their feet instead of reciting known answers. #
  • @ThoughtnDesign @abulsme Have a heart! #
  • Romney does the stupid stuff at the start of his answer too. #
  • Romney actually sounding more relaxed and natural on the first question. #
  • From what I’ve been reading and hearing about the debate prep, both these guys have probably been over-prepped. #
  • RT @DavidCornDC Okay, this is obviously a draw. Can we now move on to talking about what Romney must do in the next #debate #
  • Romney trying to claim the mantle of middle class defender despite what analysis says about his plans. #
  • Must say, Romney looking good so far. #
  • Romney just beat down Lehrer. #
  • RT @owillis mitt: my sons are liars. #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign @abulsme #MittRomney “47%, Oh and you’re stupid too.” #
  • It’s Math. #
  • Romney is actually coming out better on this exchange though. Can’t put my finger on it, but Obama is not being convincing. #
  • Even if after the debate fact-checks may support him. #
  • Trump joke? Really? #
  • Romney just more relaxed and confident here. Coming across much better than Obama so far. #
  • RT @PeterBeinart Why is obama the nervous one? #
  • RT @sullydish Notice how Romney is talking about actual individuals, while Obama is talking abstract ideas. http://t.co/lgzfvXJY #
  • Obama’s “OK” when Romney told him to stop saying “5 billion dollar tax cut”. Ouch. #
  • 26 minutes in, Romney clearly doing better so far. #
  • This is the best Romney I’ve seen all year. #
  • MT @ThoughtnDesign That shit was week, unPresidential @abulsme: Obama’s “OK” when Romney told him to stop saying “5 billion dollar tax cut”. #
  • RT @HuffPostHill MT @BigBird: Screw you, guy. #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme may be da best of him….but is he really any good though? #
  • @RQDammit If this was the first anybody was seeing of Romney, he might be winning. Of course it is not. #
  • RT @GQPolitics SHORTER TWITTER: ROMNEY WON THE #DEBATE AFTER 30 MINUTES BECAUSE OTHERWISE WE’D BE SUPER-BORED WITH THIS ELECTION. / ML #
  • Obama apologized to Lehrer. Sigh. #
  • Romney attacking now. Will Obama defend? Or say “OK.” #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign That one was gratuitous. @abulsme #
  • Romney may be full of shit, but he is controlling the stage. #
  • RT @billmaher Barry, stop nodding at Mitt when he’s lecturing you, it looks like he’s right and you’re chastened! #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme Im not soooooo sure….hmmmm! #
  • .@RQDammit It would at least be closer. :-) #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme @sullydish Mitt’s whole “small biz” will suffer under Obama’s plan is just wrong! #
  • .@RQDammit @sullydish A lots of what Romney is saying is wrong. But he is saying it convincingly and with confidence. #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme @PeterBeinart hmmmm, I hate 2 admit it, he does seem a lil off….. #
  • Obama seems distracted and not fully with it. Not good for him. #
  • MT @OKnox RT @BDayspring Now I know why Team O was setting expectations so low. Falling off stage at this point isn’t that big of a reach #
  • RT @jonsevern @abulsme no kidding…O needs new coaches #
  • .@jonsevern Don’t know what is up here. Debates were never O’s biggest strength, but I don’t remember him being this bad. #
  • .@jonsevern Meanwhile, Romney is on fire. #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme Mitt just lied about tax breaks to companies who shipped jobs overseas…. #
  • Oh yeah… RT @LarrySabato Fact-checkers are going nuts on both sides. Hope they took their blood pressure meds. #
  • RT @robertwrighter when the subject turns to social security, obama should attack romney/ryan, not just defend his own policies #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme @jonsevern yeah, a lot of hmmm & huh’s, not srong at all… #
  • RT @zidaya @abulsme @RQDammit Yeah, when all he does is lie, everything seems easy. #
  • .@zidaya @rqdammit A confident lie can come across better than a hesitant truth. Unfortunately. #
  • Fact checkers can have fun looking at what both people said. Probably a lot wrong on both sides. Won’t matter. #
  • As this goes on, Obama is getting more flustered and Romney is getting even more confident. #
  • RT @zidaya @abulsme @RQDammit Which is why the headline will be that all he does is lie. #
  • .@zidaya @rqdammit Doubt it. Press very reluctant to call out truth/lies. Presents “both sides”. #
  • MT @DouthatNYT This is actually amazingly wonky debate. Filled with nonsense of course, but by the standards of pres. debates remarkable. #
  • RT @NickKristof Romney’s use of the $716 billion attack line is utterly disingenuous–but Obama is letting him get away with it. #debates #
  • RT @RQDammit @abulsme damn, yes he is! #
  • RT @RalstonReports Doesn’t Lehrer understand Romney is running this debate? #
  • MT @HotlineReid This is the 1st time I feel like Romney is actively trying to reach out to voters beyond the conservative base. #
  • Cristie was right about tonight as a reboot. #
  • RT @PeteDominick Too bad Obama doesn’t have Bill Clinton to save him this time. #
  • MT @DouthatNYT Right, I feel like Romney’s entire summer of flailing was just rope-a-dope to make O think he couldn’t pivot to the center. #
  • MT @sullydish I notice that as soon as O starts to speak, the green line of male approval goes down. It’s the gender gap illustrated live. #
  • RT @sullydish How Obama has managed to give Romney the advantage on Medicare in this exchange is political malpractice. http://t.co/lgzfvXJY #
  • RT @NickKristof I hope Obama is looking distracted because a team of Navy Seals is taking out Zawahiri right now. #Debates #
  • RT @smotus Romney’s picking on Lehrer because he wants to look strong and Lehrer has constituency of zero. #deb #
  • RT @WillMcAvoyACN If you had “not answering the fucking question” in the debate drinking game, please get yourself to a hospital. #
  • Romney owning MA Healthcare Plan. #
  • RT @jeffjarvis Fuck me, Obamacare has not “killed jobs.” Not having Obamacare has killed people, Romney. What Obama should say. #debate #
  • RT @dandrezner RT @drjoyner Finally, Obama lets loose with one of Al Gore’s winning sighs. The debate is now his to lose. #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign Okay, get into yer stride @BarackObama #
  • RT @ChuckLane1 OMG why is Obama not just saying that Romney himself invented Obamacare? #
  • RT @DavidCornDC Romney looks like he’s having a good time. Obama does not. #debate #
  • RT @davidfrum Romney defending Romneycare on national stage. Denying tax cuts for rich. Wonder what they are thinking at WSJ tonight? #
  • .@davidfrum The Etch a Sketch finally arrives. #
  • MT @guypbenson Romney pointing out key diff between OCare & Romneycare. I’m a fan of neither program, but very good response. #Debate #
  • MT @dandrezner I think political scientists are about 2 get interesting test on whether debates matter — because Romney is crushing Obama. #
  • RT @PeterBeinart Romney’s sounding like the moderate dems always feared he’d be #
  • RT @sullydish And Obama is still looking down. Did no one tell him there is a split screen? Just political malpractice. http://t.co/lgzfvXJY #
  • MT @terrygoldman Obama is not fighting tonight. Speaking in circles. Make case. Call his bullshit, flip flops and lies! 47% remember?! Go! #
  • MT @monkeycageblog .@dandrezner If so, then precedent is 2004. First debate narrowed margin by a couple points, didn’t change outcome. #
  • RT @davidgregory Seems Obama team made decision to stay low key and avoid feisty exchanges. Stay above the fray. #
  • RT @politicalmath Obama: “Your plan, Mitt, duplicates what is in my law. That’s why I oppose it.” Me: What? #
  • RT @KattyKayBBC Press eager for Romney comeback story and now has something to work with. So far, at least. #
  • MT @sullydish Romney has managed 2 turn healthcare into a fantasy decision between grim rationing bureaucrats versus patients and hospitals. #
  • Romney positioning himself as more able to be bipartisan than O. Scary part, he is probably right. Dems would work with him, not obstruct. #
  • MT @sullydish Bored silly by O. If I am bored silly by this wonkish lecture, and his refusal to rebut specifics, i.e. lies, he’s in trouble. #
  • Role of Government now. Questions on 4th amendment? Indefinite detention? Etc? I can dream, right? #
  • Am I back from Twitter Jail yet? #
  • Woo! Out of jail! Can’t say how frustrating it was to hit tweet limit & thus be locked out of twitter for the last third of the debate. :-( #
  • Blog post coming shortly to summarize my thoughts. #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign @abulsme U wanna be tweeting from Gitmo? #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign @abulsme I should hope so!!!! #
  • .@ThoughtnDesign I was in Twitter jail for like an hour or something! Maybe more. I lost track of time. It was horrible! :-) #
  • RT @ThoughtnDesign @abulsme Be kind. #
  • .@ThoughtnDesign Was not kind. :-) #
  • RT @jimcramer Ultimate takeaway–under no circumstances, regardless of who wins, should you buy $HPQ #
  • RT @Heminator That wasn’t a debate so much as Mitt Romney just took Obama for a cross country drive strapped to the roof of his car. #
  • RT @CrowleyTIME Sensing weakness, Sasha and Malia just hounded dad into doubling their allowances. #
  • RT @BYUfan @abulsme Twitter has limits? I had no idea. #
  • .@BYUfan I’d heard of these limits before, but never encountered them. Most frustrating! #
  • RT @twitntwirp2012 @abulsme @ThoughtnDesign Me too! LilyAnn had the computer. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 @thoughtndesign Heh. Different kind of jail. I made sure my kids were out of the house. :-) #
  • Watching – Chris Matthews Freaks Out At Obama After Debate: Romney Was “Winning” (RealClearPolitics) http://t.co/Ljw595S8 #
  • MT @wilw: Ok, I’m spitballing here, but maybe we could spice up the next episode by having each guy slimed Nickelodeon-style when he lies. #
  • Half-true -> Reading – Barack Obama: Says Mitt Romney’s plan “calls for a $5 trillion tax cut,” (Politifact) http://t.co/lbr9Rpk8 #
  • MT @JonahNRO: This is the first time since Ryan pick (& maybe only the 2nd time) Romney is getting majority of conservatives really excited #
  • Reading – The Denver Debate Ignored Hugely Important Domestic Issues (Conor Friedersdorf) http://t.co/AiSl7pNJ #
  • RT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme The fact checkers are going berserk about now. Romney won but at what cost? #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 I doubt much cost. Most folks don’t look at fact checks. MSM will present “2 sides”, people will believe the guy they like. #
  • MT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Trust me, Chicago is already making ads comparing debate statements w/ prev ones. 2 wks worth of fun at least. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 No question. There is lots of new flip flop etch a sketch material. Not sure it hits the same people though. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Flip flop pisses off far right cause reenforces Rom is really not one of them. But they will vote for him anyway. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Flip flop encourages center, maybe the Mod Romney is back. Maybe not so bad after all. These are who Romney needs. #
  • RT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Even with 2 debates left, historically Pres debates haven’t moved the needle much though. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Agreed. See my blog. Unless Obama continues to fail, best Rom gets is return to early Sep nums. Still losing,just by less. #
  • MT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Junkies like u and me really tuned in tonite. May hav more effect in few days on indies than u think.#debate #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Effect on undecideds based on media narrative. Media wants closer race. More fun. So will all be about O fail, R comeback. #
  • RT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme I’m good with that! #
  • MT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Damn it! You’re proby right about that. I’ll be watching BBC and reading AP & Reuters for next 2 wks for sure. #
  • RT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Media bias on both sides just insults me to no end. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Only media bias you can 100% count on is bias for stuff that will get more readers/viewers/listeners that help sell ads. #
  • RT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Are you just trying to depress me further? #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Heh. #
  • RT @DouthatNYT: Chris Christie is looking pretty smart right about now. #
  • MT @twitntwirp2012: @abulsme Nite. 2 hr later here. Lastly, I’ll say beating up little old Jim Lehrer was prolly not a wise choice for Mitt. #
  • .@twitntwirp2012 Lehrer is liberal media. Beating up on media is good for R base, and helped show moderates he was in control. Not a neg. #
  • Reading – Laser Pointer (Randall Monroe) http://t.co/ZwzOIgIs #
  • Reading – Debates don’t move polls. Debate winners do. (David Rothschild) http://t.co/yebHWHqx #
  • Reading – Obama Outclassed by GOP Nonentity (Clive Crook) http://t.co/9fHthSK4 #
  • Reading – The Strategic Flaw In Obama’s Debate Performance (Noam Scheiber) http://t.co/5VZcZbw4 #
  • Reading – Romney Won The Debate. But Will It Be Enough? (Nate Cohn) http://t.co/jbrCtNL4 #
  • Reading – Poll Analysis: Romney takes back a couple more (Darryl, HorsesAss) http://t.co/cau4cnry #
  • EC update for Thu Oct 4 done. Polls added for 13 states. NC changes category. Blog post soon. http://t.co/kF2iz3uE #

Electoral College: North Carolina Flips Back to Romney

No, this change is NOT due to Obama’s debate performance.  There are not yet any state level polls that include time after the debate.  We should have a few of those in a few days I’m sure.  For now, this still represents what was happening pre-debate.

There was one change today, in what is currently the closest of the close states:

North Carolina has consistently been in the “close state” category all year long.  It REALLY could easily go either way.  With the latest data it moves from leaning just slightly Obama, to leaning just slightly Romney in the five poll average.  Romney now leads by 0.8%.

Right now the next closest state is Florida, where Obama is ahead by 3.2% at the moment.  If one argued that the 5% threshold I use for “close” is really too wide, you could easily conclude that North Carolina is actually the ONLY state where things are close at the moment.  It really is right on the edge right now.  Just about anything could move it one way or the other.

Regardless, as of right now, the five poll average has it back on Romney’s side of the line, where it has spent most of the last year.  So, the new summary of the state of the race:

Romney Obama
Romney Best Case 250 288
Current Status 206 332
Obama Best Case 191 347

The “current” line, where everybody gets every state they are even slightly ahead in, now reverts to a 332 to 206 Obama win.  This has been where it has been more often than anywhere else over the last year.  Things have sometimes moved a little from this line in one direction or the other, but it always seems to come back here.

In that sense the race has been remarkably stable.  Most of the discussion I’ve presented here has ended up reflecting changes to Romney’s “best case” where he wins all of the close states.  But if we only look at who is actually ahead in each state…  we’re usually at a 332 to 206 Obama win.

I’ve mentioned before, if I had to pick a final state of the race right now, putting all the red and blue states on the map above in their respective columns, then giving North Carolina to Romney, and Iowa, Colorado and Florida to Obama, seems like a very safe bet.

At the moment, even if you give Romney all four of these states, he still loses 250 to 288.  He needs to take the lead in Iowa, Colorado and Florida, then start making some of the “Weak Obama” states close again.

Romney had a very strong performance in the first debate, and Obama had a very weak one.  But will that make a difference here?  Study after study have shown that historically the effect of debates is very small.  There are just too many voters who have already made up their minds and nothing in any debate short of a complete meltdown by one of the candidates will change that.  I think that is likely to be the case here too.

I would not be surprised to see some tightening.  Some of the “Weak Obama” states are just barely in that category.  They could easily move back into my “Lean Obama” category.  But Romney needs very big moves to start actually moving states onto his side of the line.  Not just a point or two.  Florida needs more than a 3% shift to move to Romney.  To get enough states back on his side with a uniform shift he has to move things more like 6% or 7%.  That would be a huge move.

I don’t think you will see that kind of move coming out of this debate alone.  It is much more likely that we’ll see a small move.  I think Romney’s beginning of September position, which was a closer race, but one which Romney was still losing, represents a cap on the gains Romney is likely to make.  It will be very hard to Romney to break through that ceiling.

But, if from now until election day, the electorate sees the bold confidant and actually somewhat centrist Romney they saw last night, and they continue to see the nervous, hesitant, submissive Obama they saw last night…  then we may start to see a bigger shift than would come out of just the debate alone.

I think it is a pretty safe bet the Obama campaign will be doing everything they can to present a different Obama next time out though.  He knows he screwed up, he knows what he screwed up, and it is mostly about optics rather than substance, so they will try to fix it.

It has been the situation for quite some time that there wasn’t a huge amount Romney could directly do to help his position in the race, but that Obama had plenty he could do to damage his own position.  Obama made that kind of mistake last night.  Romney now has an opening, and for almost the first time in this race, Obama is on defense.

Note: Chart and map from the Abulsme.com 2012 Electoral College Prediction page. Both assume Obama vs Romney with no strong third party candidate and show polling as it currently exists. Things will change before election day. On the map red is Romney, blue is Obama, gold states are too close to call. Lines on the chart represent how many more electoral votes a candidate would have than is needed to tie under several different scenarios. Up is good for Obama, Down is good for Romney.

Important note added 2012 Oct 5 16:36 UTC:  Virginia should also have changed from Weak Obama to Lean Obama in this update.  I had the polls.  The numbers were there in my spreadsheet, I just completely failed to notice.  I will be including the Virginia change in the Friday update and talking about it there.

Obama Crushed at First Debate

I apparently hit my daily tweet limit about 60 minutes into the 90 minute debate, so I’ll do things the old fashioned way and consolidate my thoughts in a blog post.  I obviously watched a lot of the twitter reaction live, but I paused the Tivo so I could write this before listening to a lot of the talking heads on the networks and in the spin rooms.

Bottom line here is that Romney knocked this one out of the park.  This was a brand new Romney that has not been visible at any time in the last year of campaigning.  He was strong.  He was confident.  He completely controlled the conversation.  He looked relaxed and comfortable.  He looked at home.  Dare I say it, he looked “Presidential”.

Meanwhile Obama looked uncomfortable and nervous.  He played right into Romney’s narrative by actually apologizing at least once.  He backed down when Romney kept telling him not to say a particular thing, with a meek resigned “OK”.  He looked flustered.  He looked distracted.  He rambled.  He did not defend well against attacks.  He sat there and took it, and looked sheepish.  He looked outmatched on the stage.  He was not coming off well from the very first minutes, and after we were a couple of questions in, he knew it too, and it got worse as the evening progressed.

The fact checkers are going to go to town on this debate.  As always, there will be a lot of inaccuracies and untruths, and probably some outright lies.  There quite possibly will be a lot more of those from Romney’s side.  We’ll see.  But it won’t matter.  As I tweeted during the debate, “A confident lie can come across better than a hesitant truth. Unfortunately.”   What people will remember here is how Romney was in charge, and Obama looked harried and beaten.

Meanwhile, finally, finally, finally, we see Romney pivot to the center.  This was a brand new Romney.  As I also tweeted, “The Etch a Sketch finally arrives.”  This was not the Romney who was pandering to all the right wing wackos.  Suddenly we once again have the centrist moderate who could actually get elected in Massachusetts.  He defended Romneycare!  He didn’t run away from it as he has so many times in the past.  He talked about bipartisanship and about working with Democrats.  He tried to claim the mantle of defender of the middle class, and repudiate notions of him being an advocate for the rich.

Now, I actually suspect some of this is more like the “real” Romney, as compared to where he had to go to win the nomination.  But this Romney has been missing for a long time.  Suddenly, this Romney is back.  And this is the Romney that could actually have a shot against Obama.  The other Romney didn’t stand a chance.

And Romney scores a much needed change in the narrative.  There have been comments going around for the past two weeks that whatever Romney needs, the MEDIA needs a change in the narrative to make things exciting again.  The only thing the whole of the media (and yeah, probably me too) are uncontroversially and in 100% agreement on their bias about, is the bias toward the dramatic and the interesting rather than the boring and predictable.  Walking to a clear Obama win is boring.  A Romney comeback and surge is exciting.  But a seed is still needed to go there.  This debate will provide that seed.

For at least a few days, and quite likely straight through to the next Presidential debate in 13 days absent another big flub from Romney, or a major news event, the chatter will be all about Romney changing the momentum and about if Obama can find a way to get his mojo back for the second debate.  Suddenly, for the first time this whole election cycle, Obama will look like he is on the defensive.

This was a very bad night for Obama.

Now, will it make any difference at all in the polls?  In my Electoral College Analysis?

Maybe.  My gut though is that the Political Scientists are pretty much right though, and with the exception of something much more dramatic than what we saw tonight, debates in the end don’t matter very much.  The vast majority of the electorate has already made up their mind.  There are really very few in the center who are truly undecided.  And of those only a small portion will make up their minds based on a debate performance.  Having said that, the nature of the spin cycle will move the polls some.  Maybe just a few points.  But some.

Now, in order to actually win, Romney needs a big move toward him.  Not a little one.  But even a relatively small move will start moving some states where Obama is ahead by more than 5% back into the zone where they are close.  And it might pull a few states that are just leaning Obama over the line to where they are leaning Romney.  That will improve Romney’s position in my model, but won’t actually put him ahead.  Not for a small move anyway.  Not for just a 2% or 3% shift.  He would need a bigger move than that.

I don’t think this debate can give him that.  But if this “new Romney” keeps showing up, and keeps hitting it out of the park, and this uncertain, tired looking Obama keeps showing up, then that will just build on top of whatever small gain Romney gets directly from this debate.

And then we could have a real race again.

On Curmudgeon’s Corner Ivan and I had said many times that Romney may not be able to do anything specifically to win this race, but Obama can certainly lose it if he screws up.  Obama screwed up tonight.  And on top of that Romney was on fire.  If they had both been at their best it would have been a draw.  But Romney ran the table tonight, and Obama looked like he wanted to go home.

This may just be the opening Romney needs.  It may not be enough.  It *probably* won’t be enough.  My guess is that at best it will put Romney back where he was right after the Republican convention…  which was still losing, just not by as much.  Climbing past that point to win over states where Obama is currently ahead by huge margins is not going to be easy.  I think Romney will hit a wall at about the same places he has peaked before.

But, but, it gives him a much needed opening.

Twitter Jail :-(

Live Tweeting Fail. Two thirds of the way through the debate.