“In all the battleground states, we continue to see all our pathways there,” he said in a fundraiser in Milwaukee. “We’re either tied or in the lead in every battleground state 45 days out.”
Of course, true or false, that’s exactly the sort of enthusiasm you would expect Obama’s campaign manager to exude. The battleground states, so called — usually referred to as swing states — are those that aren’t strongly convinced one way or the other, and have a pattern of alternating from party to party on different elections. As Messina explains:
“I think you will see a tightening in the national polls going forward. What I care way more about is Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. In those states, I feel our pathways to victory are there. There are two different campaigns, one in the battleground and one everywhere else. That’s why the national polls aren’t relevant to this campaign.”
Being over-zealous to explain away the troubling polls won’t hide the fact that this will be a struggle and Obama may lose. As he admits, “They [republicans] are stronger than McCain was in ’08, no doubt, on the ground. But we continue to have a strategic advantage.” But that remains to be seen.
After all, isn’t Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, contradicting Messina’s boasts, claiming the Republican Party is “seeing strong support across the battleground states,” including the ones Obama previously secured?
“We’ve had more people come out to knock on doors and make phone calls in support of Governor Romney because they understand we can’t afford four more years of policies that increase our debt, don’t create jobs, and have people working more for less. It’s why we now see states like Wisconsin, which Republicans haven’t won since 1984, now in play.”
Messina concedes their Wisconsin advantage, but believes the war will go to Obama. “This is one where … because of the recall election, they test drove their car whereas in other states they haven’t. It would make sense they’re strong here, as are we,” he said with an especially large serving of spin.
It is too soon to declare the election won, and those interested in solid predictions would do well to look beyond what the leading spin-doctors of each side had to say. What is clear is that each side knows the States that are the most undecided, and will pander the longest to them. What we can predict for certainty is that in the “battleground states” there will be a lot of carnage.