As of this morning by my reckoning 40 publications have endorsed the re-election of Barack Obama, 49 have endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Two major circulation dailies made their endorsements yesterday: the Washington Post and the New York Post. Although the WP endorsed Obama in 2008 while the New York Post endorsed McCain, I’ve linked and excerpted both of their editorials below in recognition of their circulation and, at least in the case of the Washington Post, presumed influence.
Of Chicago’s two important dailies, the Sun-Times has decided no longer to make political endorsements and the Tribune endorsed Barack Obama’s election in 2008. I expect it to do so again but that’s not a foregone conclusion and I’m eagerly awaiting its endorsement.
The reason that I’m putting so much energy into tracking newspaper endorsements is twofold. Newspapers perform two differing functions. On the one hand they provide a barometer based on ears to the ground on opinion among their readership and on the other they attempt to educate and inform their readership. Both of those functions are useful in evaluating presidential candidates and the status of their candidacies.
Based on newspaper endorsements alone I think it’s very clear that the election this cycle is very, very different from that of 2008. I continue to think that the advantage lies with the incumbent but that the election will be extremely close.
The president’s re-election campaign must be worried. As I’ve said before I don’t pay much attention to the polls until the middle of October. We’re past the middle of October and the polls are not going in the president’s direction. As of today the RCP average of polls shows Mitt Romney leading by almost a full point and an increasing number of polls are reflecting a significant 50% in Romney’s favor. The campaign isn’t acting worried. Its reaction seems to me to be something between panic and disbelief.