Let's turn our attention to the presumptive Republican nominee and analyze Mitt Romney's plans for the campaign
It's the Economy Stupid...
Romney needs to make this race a referendum on President Obama and specifically the nation's economic performance. He is going to paint the Obama Administration as out of touch (the recent statement from the President that the private sector is "doing fine" was an unexpected gift) and unable to pull the nation out of the economic doldrums. Romney will portray himself as a successful businessman who understands economics and the private sector.
It is a 50/50 nation again, opportunity to pick up Independents
Few expect Obama to fully draw together the coalition that elected him in 2008. Romney's focus will be to Independents who swung to Obama in 2008, but who are disappointed with him. Early polling shows that Obama has lost a lot of the magic that appealed to these voters - voters who will be vital in big swing states.
Fight back when attacked
As President Obama has been attempting to define Romney as a robber-baron, Romney's campaign has focused on rapid response and counter-punching. This is the opposite of the McCain campaign of 2008 which was timid and unable to effectively jab back.
Consolidate and energize conservatives
Conservatives are vital for Romney to lock up as much of the money and energy that his campaign needs will come from these voters and activists. The good news for Mitt is that they seem to have swung behind him even after many of these activists did not like him during the primary race.
It is also important to note that the conservative movement really wants to deny the President a second term. These somewhat apathetic voters of 2008 launched the Tea Party of 2010 and helped propel WI Governor Scott Walker to a sizable victory earlier this week.
Avoid contentious social issues
Watch for Romney to be quiet on hot-button social issues such as abortion, gay rights, etc. he needs to attract educated suburban voters who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Although some movement conservatives will be disappointed, they will likely not make a big fuss. After all that is what the Democrats would want them to do (see my earlier entry on President Obama's strategy)
Of course events, often unforeseen will drive the 2012 campaign, A successful candidate needs to be flexible with his strategy.
Next we will revisit the Electoral College and swing states and make some early prognostications of what may be...