A rare weekend double-post allows me to update my August prediction.
While I was wrong regarding the negative bounce (which was basically because of Bill Clinton), the underlying dynamic remains the same.
With two weeks remaining, this is Romney's election to lose. I have said this many times privately but it bears repeating here: Romney will carry Michigan.
The polls show a narrow race and statewide polls are notoriously inaccurate. Michigan pollsters tend to be worse than most, consistently underestimating GOP support. Both of Granholm's victories were far closer than the polling indicated and Jim Blanchard's narrow loss to John Engler in 1990 was surprising in part because he had a lead in statewide polling.
Polling is an increasingly imperfect and unreliable tool to gain information. In many ways, polling outfits are like intelligence officers trying to gain an accurate picture of the battlefield. At this point, polling is as reliable as aerial photography - it provides some insights, but it easily defeated.
Not that people have the same interest as military officers in deception, but they are interested in preserving their own privacy and opinions. It is simply harder to pin them down.
Thus in addition to polling, one must draw upon other evidence - numbers of volunteers, yard signs, general enthusiasm and so forth. Living as I do in a predominantly Democrat area, I am surprised at the lack of Obama signs and the relative proliferation of Romney ones. I have even seen Romney seens in the "student ghetto". Either the area is suddenly trending conservative, or people are tired of four years of failure.
At this point, the Obama campaign has nothing left to offer. Their latest lines of attack - binders and "Romnesia" are nothing more than playground taunts. The debates have shown Mitt Romney to be a serious man with serious plans. He has been dignified and sincere - not at all like the caricature people have been shown.
Despite all the noise about "ladyparts" and attempts to turn the campaign into a referendum on abortion, Romney has made it clear that these issues don't interest him - his focus is the economy. In this, he is on the same page with voters. Social issues can wait until we have some money in our pockets again.
Against this background, the Libya debacle only makes Obama look even more feeble. The death of an amabassador is not a "bump in the road" or a "not optimal" development. The sabre-rattling and transparent "wag the dog" scenario that only heightens the sense of weakness and unseriousness.
Next week, Romney can rightly ask: Why did you lie to the American public for so long? Why can't your administration figure this out? You've been president for four years - how long does it take you to organize things?
I also hope that Romney reminds the public that the entire situation in North Africa belongs to Obama. It was he who decided to attack Libya without Congressional authorization and created a swathe of instability that has led to anarchy in Benghazi and revolution in Mali. This needs to be brought up - Obama's unconstitutional Libya intervention was a disaster. It was a "war of choice" just as much as Iraq but with a far worse outcome.