Conservative pollster and GOP strategist Kellyanne Conway predicts that once the dust settles from Wednesday’s debate, the advantage will shift to whichever candidate emerges as the stronger leader.
“Ignore all of the punditry about polling,” Conway advises Newsmax. “Voters don't ask themselves ‘Who can win?’ They ask themselves ‘Who can lead?’ By 10 p.m. tonight, that answer should be Mitt Romney.”
Some analysts have described the initial presidential debate as “do-or-die” situation for the Romney campaign. Conway dismisses that as “a media refrain too silly for serious analysis.”
Conway, president and CEO of the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, tells Newsmax that Romney needs to seize the initiative in the debate, however.
“If he shows he is armed with facts, fearless about how the chattering class might receive him, relentlessly engaging and even accusing his opponent, he could be perceived as a leader,” says Conway, a Newsmax Magazine contributor.
The pollster notes that President Obama has somehow made the election more of a referendum on Romney than on his own policies. “That is a dangerous, odd place for the challenger to be,” she remarks, adding: “The most important thing Romney can do tonight is begin to make this a referendum on Obama again.”
That said, Conway advises the Romney campaign that hammering away at Obama’s mismanagement of the economy probably won’t be enough.
“To get above 50 percent and remain there, he needs breakout moments and breakout issues like energy and abortion,” she says. “Obama is anywhere from soft to extreme on each of them. What voters don't know about Obama, on everything from Solyndra to sex-selective abortions, could be hurting them.”
In sharp contrast to many political experts, Conway sees “likeability” as an overrated quality in politics. Vision and specific solutions are more important, she says.
“If you show a path toward daily affordability and long-term security, people will ‘like’ you,” she says.
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