Time Magazine has a fascinating look at the campaign to re-elect the President. Their basic mantra: “Be confident, but take nothing for granted.”
The President has fairly good reason to be confident. That said, Romney has not yet truly begun the general election campaign. While he is the presumptive Republican nominee, he doesn’t have the nomination quite yet, and cannot afford to take it for granted; if he were to seriously anger any significant portion of the base prior to being given the nomination, it could be imperiled. His nomination, while statistically almost certain, is still not 100% certain (merely very very very close to 100%). If he stays disciplined, he will do nothing to seriously upset the GOP base at least until June. So expect Romney–who has run an extremely disciplined campaign from day 1–to spend most of the next month or two mending fences and shoring up his base. Expect him to fully introduce himself to the general electorate and start working on winning centrist voters around the time he picks a Vice Presidential running-mate and formally accepts the nomination at the convention. Yes, he’s focusing on Obama primarily now, but he’s also not taking a lot of risks as far as that’s concerned.
The Obama campaign plans to be tightly disciplined and smart. But the smart money says that the Romney campaign plans exactly the same. Both candidates should have quite impressive operations put together by August. My prediction would be that you should watch for Romney’s approval ratings to slowly climb as Republicans who didn’t like him start to get behind him, and even moreso as Romney begins working on convincing centrist voters that he’s a good choice for them. Barring unforeseen surprises, I think we can expect a very close election in November.
(This item cross-posted to Dean’s World.)