Another Way for Romney to ‘Go Bold’? Pick a Moderate
A lot of vice-presidential chatter has been framed around the question of whether Mitt Romney will make a “bold” choice for a running mate — like Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin — or a “safe” one, like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.
Mr. Ryan would surely do more to excite the Republican base, and he could be a more dynamic figure on the campaign trail. But having never represented anything larger than a Congressional district, he is not as well vetted as Mr. Portman. Mr. Ryan, also, would introduce an ideological element to the campaign in the form of his conservative budget plan, which polls poorly with independent voters.
There are times when making a high-risk choice can be worthwhile. John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin did not work out well for him in 2008. (Mr. McCain also inherited the Republican reins from an incumbent with a 20-something-percent approval rating who was blamed for an imploding economy.) But the strategic thinking behind Mr. McCain’s choice was sound, even if its execution may have been lacking.
Mr. Romney has had something of a rough month in the polls, especially in swing states. And if the economy is still fairly poor, recent reports suggest that it is at least not getting worse. There has been no blowup in Europe, no conflagration in the oil fields of the Middle East, that would send the economy into a double-dip recession and make him an overwhelming favorite.
Mr. Romney’s fundamentals remain much stronger than Mr. McCain’s, however. Most forecasting models produced by political scientists and economists predict a very tight race, although the consensus suggests that Mr. Obama perhaps has the narrowest of advantages as incumbents tend to get the benefit of the doubt from voters. But Mr. Obama still gets net-negative ratings from voters on his handling of the economy, and his approval ratings are only break-even.
Still, a devil’s advocate case for a bold pick could go something like this: Mr. Obama’s lead has been slim, but it has been steady. He’s averaging around 47 percent or 48 percent of the vote in national polls,
You can read the rest of this article at:: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/another-way-for-romney-to-go-bold-pick-a-moderate/
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