Think of it this way. Despite the fact that Obama has had a pretty miserable couple of months, he has still driven the debate, and has generally maintained a slight lead in the polls (including in most of the swing states). And during that time, whether the conversation has been the Buffett Rule or the DREAM Act or extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000 — Obama has defined the turf.
Even in the rare instances where conservatives have been on offense, Romney was mostly just capitalizing on gaffes (Hilary Rosen). In some cases, it was the work of third parties (such as Jim Treacher discovering a young Obama dined on man’s best friend) that turned the tide. (In fairness, Obama has the bully pulpit and much of the media, so it’s not a fair fight.) Still, this question is worth asking: If Obama is still winning now, after getting off to a rough start, why should anyone expect things to change in, say, October.
When that final bell rings, will Romney wish he had hit a little harder in the early rounds?
Ironically, Romney may be harmed by the fact that the race has been so close. He can take solace in the fact that he is within the margin of error, but that will be cold comfort should he lose by a point or two.