I sometimes wonder if the Obama campaign is being run by Bill Belichick.
Last year, in the face of incontrovertible evidence that his defense was giving it up like a prom queen on roofies, Belichick famously characterized its play as “bend but don’t break.” He insisted that despite the ghastly number of yards being yielded, when measured by the yardstick of points allowed, the defense was humming right along. That, of course, is what we call “a rationalization.” Belichick’s aphorism and statistical aberration notwithstanding, the bend but don’t break theory was merely a way to disguise what everyone already knew – the defense sucked like a Dyson.
And such it may be with the presidential race. They say these are always a horse race – I don’t know who they are, but I’m opting not to argue with them. If you take a look at recent analysis from fivethirtyeight.com, you see some interesting trends.
Indeed it appears that Obama statistically is still very much in the proverbial driver’s seat when you look at the electoral map. Even in the swing states Obama has maintained his lead despite the recent poor debate performance. I suppose, if your glass is half full, this is good news. But the lead is so thin in many of those states that it’s probably within the margin of error in most of them.
As fivethirtyeight also points out, timing is everything. The order in which polls are published don’t always follow the order in which they were taken. Which is kinda like saying you can can proclaim the merits of your defense based on a season-long sample, but when you just lost your last two Superbowl appearances because of your defense’s inability to get off the field on third down you’re not taking much solace in the numbers.
The odds of Romney running the table in the swing states is still pretty slim, but if I were Obama I’d do what Belichick did this year and start addressing the weaknesses.