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Could Gerald Seib Please Do His Job?

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?

He can be good. But not here. The question that most of Gerald Seib's readers need information on is: "Should I vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama?" The question that followers of the horserace for amusement want information on is: "What are the odds that Romney will recover and win this thing?"

Yet those are questions he avoids providing us with any information about:

Three Reasons the Presidential Race Isn't Over: Here's a news flash from the campaign front: The election isn't over yet, and Mitt Romney still could win…. [T]his remains a close race with six weeks—an eternity in modern politics—remaining…. Romney… retains three assets worth noting:

  • Some highly motivated voters. In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Mr. Obama leads among all registered voters by six percentage points, and among those who appear likely to vote by five. But among those who voice the highest interest in the election—in other words, those who seem most intensely interested in voting—Mr. Romney leads by three percentage points…. "They don't have the same intensity they had in '08, and we have more intensity," says Rich Beeson, political director of the Romney campaign….

  • Strong conservative support…. In the Journal/NBC News poll, Mr. Romney is getting the same level of support among conservatives that Sen. John McCain got four years ago, and with the same level of intensity. Perhaps more surprising, Mr. Romney's Mormon religion doesn't seem to be turning off evangelical voters….

  • Grouchy undecided voters…. [T]hose that are still unattached tend to be more unhappy with the current state of the country than are other voters, which ought to mean they're available to Mr. Romney…. They give Mr. Obama a lower job-approval rating than voters in general, and they aren't as warm to him personally. They also have a low opinion of Mr. Romney…. In other words, undecided and persuadable voters are still there for the taking. And Mr. Romney now has three coming presidential debates to do the persuading….

It wouldn't take a giant shift in the national mood to tilt the table in the six weeks left.

The next time he writes something like this, could he please put "this is a beat sweetener for Rich Beeson" in the subhead, so I will know to stop reading?

The answer to the first question is: (i) Romney's conduct of the campaign has greatly undermined the presumption of strong administrative chops, (ii) Romney's failure to tack left for the general election is powerful evidence that he cannot stand up to pressure and hence will pursue strongly right-wing anti-technocratic policies if elected, so (iii) you should not vote for him unless you are a right-wingnut.

The answer to the second question is: Nate Silver gives Romney a 4% chance of winning the election if it were held today, and a 22% chance of winning the election. That means that he judges that there is a 4% chance that the polls are wrong and Romney is actually ahead now, and that there is an 18% chance that Romney will recover.

See? That was not hard.