The Economist currently features a look “inside” Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, in which to all appearances the (traditionally nameless) reporter got entirely co-opted by the Romneyites.
Exhibit A, in which The Economist writes off Romney’s subterranean favo(u)rability numbers:
[T]he advantage that the Obama campaign has had on the airwaves will soon be reversed. Election laws require candidates to maintain separate fund-raising accounts for the primaries and the general election. Mr Romney’s general-election account is brimming, but it cannot be tapped until he is formally nominated at the convention. His primary account, however, is running low, thanks to his bruising battle for the nomination. Mr Obama was thus able to spend $38m on advertising in June, to Mr Romney’s $10m. “When you’re outspent three-to-one, your favourability declines,” one staffer concedes. But he counts it as a victory that Mr Obama has thrown his best punches and Mr Romney is still standing.
In reality, June was a political lifetime ago. Consider this, from yesterday’s NBC First Read:
Team Romney maintains 2-to-1 ad-spending edge: All that said, Team Romney (the Romney campaign, RNC, and outside groups) is making as strong a push as it can in this shrunken (or not expanded) playing field to help Romney over the finish line for a narrow victory. This week’s total ad spending in the presidential race — $31 million — isn’t quite as high as we thought it would be. But it’s still high, especially for August, and Team Romney continues its 2-to-1 advantage over Team Obama — $20 million to $11 million, which we’ve seen consistently for about a month now.
Which means The Economist is about a month behind the curve.
Exhibit B, in which The Economist pins Romney’s hopes on undecided voters:
[The Romney campaign] sees the archetypal swing voter as a white, married, middle-class woman between the ages of 35 and 55, who is worried about paying for a family holiday or affording college fees for her children. These economic anxieties will ultimately drive her into Mr Romney’s arms, says one of his strategists, but she probably will not make up her mind about how to vote until October.
Yeah, just one problem: The undecided vote at this stage is about one-quarter to one-half of what it was four years ago. (Somewhere between 3% and 8%, vs. 10-12% in 2008 depending upon which poll you pick, according to Politico.)
So the hardworking staff’s advice to The Economist: Work harder.