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Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science

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Evans Speaks to Morgan County GOP

Jul 25, 2012

 Last night, Dr. Evans spoke to the Morgan County Republican Party in Decatur, AL.  A native of Decatur, the local party invited him to speak to the monthly gathering of the party. At the gathering, Dr. Evans spoke about whether Romney can win since most news stories suggest that he should be doing better than he is. In his talk, Dr. Evans reminded the attendees that most elections are retrospective elections based on incumbent performance. While most voters rate the president's performance in foreign policy highly, they rate him less generously in economics and the economic evaluation tends to be more important because it directly affects most voters.

Dr. Evans then went own to explain the polls and what they mean. He believes that the horse race numbers are less important than the president's public approval rating because of the retrospective nature of elections. President Obama is a well-known person who most everyone has made up thsir mind about.  If you look at polls over the past two years, Obama's presidential approval has consistently been between 45-49% in the Real Clear Politics poll of polls. These consistent results suggests that most people have made up their mind about the president and are looking for an alternative. Moreover if one uses the president's reelect numbers, one finds that if you use 47% support or less as a measure of who will win (under the assumption that people have made up their minds and he cannot get enough independents to win), Romney would win the electoral college vote. 

Dr. Evans then discussed the campaign itself and said that Obama is running a better campaign. Since most people are looking for a change, he needs to destroy Mitt Romney and he is doing a good job of it by defining Romney as an out of touch rich guy and connecting that persona to policies that would help people just like him. In fact, this is a very smart move as Obama takes Romney's strength, his business experience, and turns it into a weakness for him. Dr. Evans suggested that Romney needs to take hold of his own narrative to define himself before Obama's narrative sticks with the press and the press continues to use that narrative throughout the campaign.