Election Day Dispatches

Has the Romney Blame Game Already Begun?
Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Nov. 6 2012 8:19 PM

Election Day Dispatches


Has the Romney blame game already begun?


Photograph by Justin Sullivan.

I've made my way from Philadelphia to Washington, so I'll naturally
 shift my interests from battleground tactics to palace intrigue.

Since most Election Day leaks are almost always designed to make
 one side's prospects look stronger, the report earlier this evening 
from CNN’s Peter Hamby that Romney's final internal tracking polls showed 
him behind 5 points in Ohio is being treated as news. We'll know soon how those numbers accord with the voting 
reality, but I wonder if that poll leak was the first move in the
 inevitable post-election blame game.

Politico's Maggie Haberman and Emily Schultheis appropriately located pollster Neil Newhouse at the center of a looming storm about Romney's strategy. It 
is apparently his surveys that have undergirded the Romney campaign's 
optimism about its prospects in recent weeks, and more importantly the 
timid strategy that has carried Romney through the past two years.
 Leaking polls that showed Romney behind in Ohio, even while voters
 could still cast votes there, serves one interest above all: It puts 
down a marker that the pollster wasn't at fault.

If Romney loses, much of the inside-baseball conversation will be: Did 
Newhouse give Romney bad numbers, or did his strategists read them 

Sasha Issenberg is the author of The Victory Lab about the new science of political campaigns.



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