Pre-Debate Polling and a Path to Victory

By Jedediah Bila

President Obama and Mitt Romney will hit the stage at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida at 9:00 ET tonight for the final presidential debate. Under the umbrella of foreign policy, moderator Bob Schieffer announced that the topics will be “America’s role in the world,” “Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan,” “Red Lines – Israel and Iran,” “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I”, “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II,” and “The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.” What does polling look like as we head into this last debate?

Here are some recent highlights:

Rasmussen–Colorado: Romney 50%, Obama 46%

Rasmussen–Swing State Tracking: Romney 49%, Obama 46% (The states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.)

Quinnipiac/CBS News–Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (Obama’s lead has been cut from a 53 to 43 percent advantage on Sept. 26.)

CNN/ORC International–Florida: Romney 49%, Obama 48%

POLITICO-George Washington UniversityRomney 49%, Obama 47%

NBC/Wall Street JournalRomney 47%, Obama 47% (“In the previous national NBC/WSJ poll, which was conducted before debate season began, the president held a narrow, three-point lead over his GOP challenger, 49 percent to 46 percent.”)

Gallup, Oct. 19-21–Registered Voters: Romney 48%, Obama 47% ; Likely Voters: Romney 51%, Obama 45%

Romney needs another strong debate performance to solidify his momentum heading into the final two weeks. His delivery thus far has been on point–confident, competent, solution-focused, and empathetic. He has been strong on facts, presented a forward vision, and held Barack Obama accountable for both failed policies and promises not kept.

Tonight’s debate is pivotal in presenting Romney’s view of America’s role in the world. America’s position of strength should, of course, be tied to a strong economy; reversing Obama’s ballooning debt and deficits are key.

Heritage reminds us of some other key points:

“The U.S. seeks not war but the preservation of peace, and the central purpose of its forces is not simply to win wars but to stop them from occurring by deterring adversaries.”

“We have a tremendous interest in the promotion of economic freedom in the U.S. and around the world, both because it increases our prosperity and that of our friends and because economic freedom is closely tied to political freedom, individual liberty, and many other good outcomes, such as a cleaner environment.”

“The purpose of American diplomacy is to secure the national interests of the U.S.…What is wrong and irresponsible is not U.S. participation in negotiations but diplomacy that is not subject to the consent of the governed, infringes on U.S. sovereignty, fails to respect President Reagan’s dictum of ‘trust, but verify,’ or fails to reflect our values.”

Romney must do more than address the President’s incompetence and inconsistencies on foreign policy. He must address Obama’s failed leadership and an Obama Doctrine that stands in opposition to the “peace through strength” philosophy that would help to keep both America and our allies safe.

Romney may also face some challenges tonight that Obama won’t. Take a look at Bob Schieffer’s history of bias. In other words, Romney must be ready for just about anything.

The good news? I think he will be.




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