Posted by Trent Telenko on October 25th, 2012 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
After watching the 2012 Presidential Debates, I’ve come to the conclusion we are now seeing a new branch of “President Debate Forensics” being established that is utterly different in objective than traditional one concerned with scorning points. Instead, it is concerned with communicating the candidate’s PRESIDENTIAL demeanor through visual media.
That it has been successful in communicating that demeanor can be seen in this Michael Barone piece. Barone says the public’s break towards Romney is happening with affluent suburban voters and particularly college educated women.
It looks like my thought of Romney’s last debate performance being a “intimate performance for women” was spot-on, and his intended audience is responding –
That tends to validate my alternative scenario that Mitt Romney would fare much better in affluent suburbs than Republican nominees since 1992, running more like George Bush did in 1988. The only way Pennsylvania and Michigan can be close is if Obama’s support in affluent Philadelphia and Detroit suburbs has melted away.
This also helps explain why Romney still narrowly trails in Ohio polls. Affluent suburban counties cast about one-quarter of the votes in Pennsylvania and Michigan but only one-eighth in Ohio.
A pro-Romney affluent swing is confirmed by the internals of some national polls. The 2008 exit poll showed Obama narrowly carrying voters with incomes over $75,000. Post-debate Pew Research and Battleground polls have shown affluent suburbanite Romney carrying them by statistically significant margins.
In particular, college-educated women seem to have swung toward Romney since Oct. 3. He surely had them in mind in the foreign policy debate when he kept emphasizing his hopes for peace and pledged no more wars like Iraq and Afghanistan.
At this point, my gut says that the Romney campaign bet it all on the debates to get past the Pro-Obama media filters to voters and prepared accordingly.
Romney’s debate performances moved the focus groups so consistently. I have to think that his debate preparation firm was coaching him through his debate preparation with multiple primary and general election focus groups. Focus groups that were providing video performance feed back to Romney through out both the Republican Primary and General Election campaigns.
Romney just set a new and very high bar in American Presidential campaigning by founding a new “Presidential forensics” branch of debate. One that isn’t intended to “win” debates in the traditional debate forensics sense of “scoring points.”
“Presidential forensics” Romney-style is intended to showcase the candidate’s ability to project a PRESIDENTIAL demeanor to a visual media audience past media gatekeepers, whatever the debate format or moderator bias.
It worked. It will be copied.