How Obama closed the gap

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According to a follow-up analysis, in the six-day period that followed our final measurement (November 1 – 6 inclusive) Obama bested Romney 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent  –  a remarkable eleven point advantage. This time period, of course, also coincided with Hurricane Sandy's pummeling of the East Coast.

And for those who believe that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s literal and figurative embrace of Obama was a major tipping point in the final days of the campaign, it should come as some relief that this was definitely not the case. In fact the social media analysis showed that when Christie, Obama and Romney are measured in various ways against each other, Romney enjoyed a nearly 17 point advantage. So if anything, Christie’s act was perceived by most who saw it, as entirely appropriate — and actually adding to (and providing a face of compassion) to the Republicans’ cause.

This all reminded us of Richard Nixon’s victory over Hubert Humphrey in 1968. As I recall (and Theodore H. White wrote in The Making of the President, 1968), the Democrats were finally coming together after Johnson’s ‘abdication’, the Clean for Gene (McCarthy) movement, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, and the implosion at the Chicago Democratic Convention.

Suddenly, it began to dawn on the faithful that their squabbling would lead not to a utopian new world but rather the election of Richard M. Nixon as president. This was the very same Nixon who had in an ever graceful farewell speech noted to the press that they ‘wouldn’t have Nixon to kick around anymore’. Yet here he was, around again, and this time ready to do some kicking of his own. Light began to dawn on the marble heads of the party and surely enough they began turning to HHH in droves, so much so that White opined that if the election were held a few hours later, the distinguished senator from Minnesota would have prevailed.

In the same way, it now appears that Superstorm Sandy provided an unintended pause to the 2012 presidential campaign, and when she hit the ‘unpause’ button, Obama’s faithful apparently thought twice about the future then at hand.