What Will Decide The Election?

Jul 11 2012 @ 2:43pm

Ezra Klein asks what matters between now and November. He's honest enough to concede he doesn't have much of a clue. Increasingly it looks like a remarkably stable 47 – 47 race, with a vanishingly small number of persuadables increasingly hard to persuade. John Sides runs through various factors. On the most visible part of the campaign:

As I’ve noted before, campaign ads can have an effect, even in presidential races.  However, three caveats are important here, which speak to how one should follow the ads.  First, the effect of ads seems to emerge when one side is outspending the other by a significant margin.  How much of a margin is hard to say; let’s take 2-1 as a rough estimate, which corresponds to the apparently consequential imbalance in Bush and Gore ads in battleground states right before the 2000 election.  I’m not sure either Romney or Obama will muster that kind of advantage, even with the independent spending taken into account.  TBD.

My own view/guess is that voters are unsettled by the stagnant economy and open to throwing the incumbent out. But Romney hasn't sealed the deal because he is so vague about his policies and so unlikable as a human being. I wonder if and how the Mormon question could arise – the only thing, barring a euro collapse or a terror attack or a disaster of some sort – that could radically alter the trajectory, in my view.