The Washington Post

Two more things for Republicans to worry about

If you’re a hand-wringer, like me, and you want a couple of things to worry about along with the current polling that suggests President Obama has experienced a bounce from the Democratic convention, here are two underreported, fresh items for you to fret over. 

First, remember Virgil Goode’s green light to be on the presidential ballot in Virginia. Virgil is a misguided soul who has stumbled into Mitt Romney’s path. The former congressman from Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District isn’t particularly well-known for anything except being a fist-shaker and habitual party-switcher. Anyway, whatever votes he gets will come right out of Romney’s coalition. And if Virgil Goode secures between 3 and 4 percent in his old congressional district, he could get more than 1 percent of the vote statewide, enough to make the difference in this election.

Somebody called him “Romney’s Ralph Nader,” and that could be the case.  If you’re an ultraconservative Virginia voter, and you can’t vote for Obama or a Mormon, then you might vote for Goode. 

Second, while we’re worrying, know that the Obama auto bailout is probably more popular in Ohio than it is in Michigan. A lot of voters in Ohio believe that the bailout saved some of the state’s auto parts suppliers. That gives Obama a small lift among voters employed by the private sector in Ohio. He has problems with this group everywhere, but perhaps this makes his margin less terrible in this one state.

Look for Obama, Biden, and every Democratic surrogate who travels to Ohio to repeatedly remind voters of the benefits they believe were part of the automotive bailout. 

PS – Pundit reconciliation: Reliable polling suggests that Obama did get a bounce out of his convention. I thought the president’s speech was flat and the convention as a whole was just a bunch of one-off speakers, with no effective message about why he should be re-elected.  Yet the convention did him more good than I expected. It makes me wonder what else I’m missing and suggests that I need to fine-tune my antennae.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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