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Stakes high for Romney in Republican convention (2)

By Wang Fengfeng (Xinhua)

09:19, August 27, 2012

And presidential is what Romney needs to look like. Despite the sluggish economy, he has not been able to overtake Obama at the polls, and the race is still a dead heat.

"I am amazed and surprised that in some polls Obama is slightly ahead or not far behind in others. When economy is as bad as it is, I would expect to see Republican team doing much better than it is at this stage of the game," said Kerry Haynie, another political scientist with Duke University.

The convention represents Romney's best chance so far to turn this thing around. According to Gallup, party conventions typically bump presidential candidates' support numbers up by five percentage points.

In an interview with Xinhua, John Pickering, a political scientist with Lynn University, said he would expect two to three percentage points bump in polls nationally to Republicans going out of Tampa.

LIKABILITY AND DISTRACTIONS

Obama has stayed competitive despite the economy for a reason. His campaign has been relentlessly attacking Romney, spending over 100 million U.S. dollars in the three months since April in TV ads, most of the money was spent in July on negative ads pounding Romney. The campaign continued to outspend Romney in August in ads despite being outraised by the former Massachusetts governor.

William Galston, a politics expert with Brookings Institution, commented the strategy of the Obama campaign is to define Romney before he can do it himself, and the tactic clearly worked, with polls showing negative opinion of Romney persistently high.

In an interview with Xinhua, political commentator Dante Chinni said one of the main problems for Romney is that "people just don' t like him," with voters who hold negative opinion of him outnumber people who have a high opinion of him.

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