In the face of polls that increasingly suggest that Obama will win at least the electoral vote, major right bloggers (not just those connected with the Romney campaign) continue to voice confidence in Romney’s chances. This trend has been developing for some time, and has manifested in the War of the Skew, the War on Nate Silver, the War on the Central Limit Theorem, the War on Averages, all of which are part of a broader War on Numbers.
Mitt Romney may win, either because the polls turn at the last moment, or because the polls are wrong. Every day, something happens that has never happened before. Nevertheless, I’m curious about how guarantees of victory seem to become increasingly shrill as objective measures show Romney’s chances fading. Possibilities:
- Conservatives genuinely believe that the polling is wrong, that only Rasmussen and Gallup have it right, and that Romney will win 300+ electoral votes.
- Conservatives don’t genuinely believe Romney will win, but continue to think that he can win, and believe that putting an extremely positive spin on bad numbers helps enthusiasm, turnout, etc.
- Displays of confidence in Romney are part of intra-movement political posturing; allowing that Obama may win indicates lack of faith, commitment, enthusiasm, et al. In the post-2012 conservative movement landscape, having a reputation as a loyal soldier (even in a lost cause) is seen as a positive good.
Of the three I’m certain there’s some of #1; motivated bias is a strong thing. I’m curious about the balance of 1 with 2 and 3, however. Broadly speaking, both 2 and 3 are quite reasonable. Indeed, conservative optimism in the face of adversity is, in some cases, arguably more sensible than progressive despair. Romney can win, and its unclear that public recognition of the magnitude of the obstacles to victory is helpful to his cause. And given that the marketplace of conservative thought continues to generously reward a select number of opinion leaders, #3 is also altogether reasonable.