It may be tempting to remember the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, and the constant refrain of “why can’t Obama seal the deal?” in the political press, and draw some comparisons to Mitt Romney’s inability to “seal the deal” with Republican voters.
But there’s a big difference between then and now. In 2008 there were devout Hillary Clinton supporters and passionate Barack Obama supporters. People really liked these candidates. I remember being torn between the two when primary season came around because I thought both were excellent candidates with different pros and cons in their column.
Nobody, it appears, is really passionate about any of these Republican candidates. From CNN/ORC:
Almost as many Republican voters are “not very satisfied” or “not satisfied at all” with their choices as are just “fairly satisfied,” and only 9% are “very satisfied.” That percentage has been slashed in half since the question was last asked in October, when Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Ron Huntsman and Herman Cain were all in the race. And if you go to the link, they drill down on this even more, asking how disappointed people would be if this or that candidate gets the nomination. None of it looks like good news for Republicans.
And this is the big difference between 2012 and 2008. Much as Republican strategists are taking to the airwaves pointing out that Obama didn’t “seal the deal” until the convention, the reasons he did so are not the same. Being unsure because you have two good candidates to choose from is completely different from having to pick the least revolting candidate from a pack of dogs.