Much to the disappointment of the horse-race-oriented media, eventheliberal NYTimes:
…After month after month of disappointing job numbers, poll after poll showing dissatisfaction in his economic performance and hundreds of millions of dollars in negative advertisements, a large portion of wavering voters maintain a personal attachment to Mr. Obama, and a tentative willingness to give him more time to get it right, top strategists with both campaigns agree.
That is a testament, perhaps, to the power of that scene four years ago when Mr. Obama and his family crossed the threshold of the White House as its first African-American tenants, “an inspiring moment that so many have awaited so long” as former President George W. Bush — the man he was so hard on in 2008 — put it then….
Most challengers face the relatively clinical task of persuading voters to fire the incumbent. Mr. Romney faces the more fraught mission of persuading them to break up with the incumbent….
It is Mr. Romney’s job now to convince them that it is beyond repair; that the risks of staying in it are larger than the risks of starting anew with him, that he and Mr. Ryan represent a fresh start akin to a generational change.
But leading these voters — many of them women — to that conclusion takes finesse and delicacy, Republican strategists say. The sort of visceral attacks that conservative talk show hosts are calling for risk sending them into a defense posture on behalf of Mr. Obama and, more to the point, of their own decisions four years ago.
Rather, strategists say, it requires providing a path that gives them permission to make a break. They need to be told that it is O.K. to remain proud of their initial support for Mr. Obama, but that they can be equally at peace with a decision to change their minds now….
… [I]n what amounted to perhaps the most forceful and effective portion of his address, Mr. Romney sought to give Mr. Obama’s wavering 2008 voters a strong nudge from what he portrayed as a reverie, saying they have given the president time enough. “Americans have been patient; Americans have supported this president in good faith,” he said to a roar in the hall. “Today the time has come to turn the page.” …
And that goes to the other part of the equation here: Even if Mr. Romney’s campaign continues to make inroads on the firing part, it has to make up ground on the hiring part, with polls showing him as lagging Mr. Obama on several personal “likability” measures.
“They see this guy as wealthy, disconnected, not like me,” Margaret Spellings, Mr. Bush’s former education secretary, said of wavering Obama voters during an interview here on Thursday. She said those voters were looking for “the humanity side,” of Mr. Romney, which his campaign did so much to present during this convention.
Ms. Spellings suggested that Mr. Romney had so far failed to overcome Mr. Obama decisively among undecided voters only because “some of them haven’t been paying attention.” …
Shorter GOP strategists: Stupid frigging voters! We blew hundreds of millions offering the best simulacra of a ‘new & improved’ presidential-administration-to-be money could buy, and you’re channel-surfing or hitting the can! No fair That Black Man in Our White House should rudely insist on being competent AND charismatic at the same time!
At least they have the consolation of knowing that Willard “Mitt” Romney is going to take the brunt of the post-election abuse, since that guy can’t even sell raw greed and naked prejudice to an arena full of RNC delegates with any success.