UPDATE: Romney now has all four major newspaper endorsements in Iowa, with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Quad City Times and the Sioux City Journal joining in. The latter two papers said the same thing, “Mitt Romney: he’s the change America needs.” I bet that has Mr. hopey-changey’s shorts in a knot.
This is huge. Obama gave an “off the record” interview to the editors of the Des Moines Register last week. Insisting that his interview be off the record was a typical show of Obama’s arrogance and it might have cost him their endorsement. I’m not suggesting it was decisive but the editorial in which they gave their endorsement states that, for them at least, it was a close call. Little things gain importance in close calls.
The reason this is a huge thing for Romney is that Iowa is a battleground state that went for Obama over McCain 54-44 percent in 2008. One scenario in which Romney can win the presidency without carrying Ohio is if he carries both Iowa and Wisconsin. Without both of those states he must carry Ohio. The polls in Ohio are showing a razor thin race. The Obama campaign has admitted the possibility of Romney getting a majority of the popular vote but maintains that Obama will win in the electoral college if Romney doesn’t get Ohio.
Romney’s handlers point to how rare it has been in American history for the popular vote winner to not also win in the electoral college, and that the battleground states will probably align with national polling as election day approaches. Romney currently enjoys a 3 to 5 point lead nationally among likely voters, depending upon which poll you’re looking at.
The Des Moines Register has not endorsed a Republican for president since it endorsed Richard Nixon over George McGovern in 1972.