“We feel that we are in a very, very good place, that this race is exactly where we hoped it would be a week out,” said Russ Schriefer, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney, on a Wednesday conference call with reporters. Schriefer says the Romney campaign remains convinced that the fundamentals of the race favor the Republican, even as polls show the race remains tight in important swing states like Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa.
Romney pollster Neil Newhouse explained the campaign’s view of the state of the race. “Obama has a political environment problem, he’s got an intensity problem, he’s got an image problem, and he’s got a ballot problem,” Newhouse said. And independents, he added, remain perhaps the most important voting bloc.
“If we expect the partisan edge to be significantly narrowed on Tuesday, then the race is going to come down to independents,” Newhouse said, and that means advantage, Romney. “It’s simply cold, hard math. In 23 of the 25 national polls released in the last month…Mitt has led among independents…by 7 points.”
Schriefer said there are “a lot of states in play” for Romney to pick up outside of those generally regarded as “swing,” including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Barack Obama, he said, is “stuck well below the 50 percent threshold in almost every mark that you can take” in many of these states. Schriefer also touted Romney’s newfound favorability advantage compared to Obama.
The Romney campaign and conservative super PACs like American Crossroads and Restore our Future have begun purchasing airtime in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, a move that Obama campaign manager Jim Messina Tuesday called a “desperate play.” Republicans haven’t won Pennsylvania and Michigan since 1988 and haven’t won Minnesota since 1972. But Schriefer said some of those states are winnable for Romney.
“They fall into the exact pattern that Neil has been talking about, where the president is well under 50 percent,” he said. “Can we win all of them? Probably not. Can we win some of them? I think so.”