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School for 'Political Insiders' Survey Gives Obama Campaign the Edge in Weekly Horse Race: Week 1

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According to the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management's (GSPM) first installment of its weekly Horse Race, President Obama's campaign bested Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign last week. The GSPM Horse Race poll assesses which presidential candidate and campaign triumphed in the previous week. Each week, the Horse Race asks participants to rate the prior week's performance of Gov. Romney, President Obama and their respective campaigns, and vote on which campaign "won" the prior week or appears to have "momentum" in the race. GW students, alumni and faculty also offer each campaign advice based upon their prior week's performance. The survey results are released weekly.

Each week, the school assesses the twists and turns of the candidates, their campaigns and the political environment as we reach the finish line on Election Day, Nov. 6.

Top findings for the week ending Sunday, Aug. 5, include:

• President Obama's overall campaign won by nearly double
• President Obama's personal performance was rated more effective than Gov. Romney's
• Gov. Romney's campaign operation was rated lower than President Obama's
• Participants on both sides on the aisle rated the performance of their candidate's campaign
organization as better than the performance of their candidate personally

The GSPM Horse Race is an aggregated, weekly measure of the opinions of a group of graduate students, alumni, full-time faculty and adjunct professors at GSPM. The responses -- which are not intend to project the opinions of any larger population other than those responding to the survey -- have been weighted to ensure that they are balanced politically, by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. The comments provided are from survey participants.

Horse Race - Week 1 (For the Week Ending Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012)

Obama Campaign Wins Week 1
Candidate Romney Lags Behind His Campaign Operation

Rate the prior week's performance (1- Very Ineffective, 5 - Very Effective)

Mitt Romney's PERSONAL PERFORMANCE as a presidential candidate: 2.82
Barack Obama's PERSONAL PERFORMANCE as a presidential candidate: 3.20
Mitt Romney's presidential CAMPAIGN OPERATION: 3.19
Barack Obama's presidential CAMPAIGN OPERATION: 3.39

Which presidential campaign "won" the previous week?

Romney Campaign: 25.2 percent
Obama Campaign: 47.4 percent
Neither: 25.4 percent
Both: 00.0 percent
Don't know: 02.4 percent

Week 1 Horse Race Instant Analysis

• On average, partisan insiders rated the performance of their candidate and his organization as higher than the other side. But, on balance, Democrats were more enthusiastic about President Obama than were Republicans about Gov. Romney.

• Partisans on both sides rated the performance of their respective campaign organizations as slightly better than the personal performance of their candidate.

• One-third of Republican insiders saw the Obama campaign as winning the week, while less than 5 percent of the Democrats gave the nod to the Romney campaign.

What was the pivotal moment of the campaign in the previous week?

Select Comments:

Democrat Insider: "Romney's tax problem doesn't go away. Regardless of whether Harry Reid is lying or not, the continued withholding of the taxes makes almost any accusation seem plausible."

Republican Insider: "Romney effectively 'waited out' the media by stubbornly refusing to release his tax returns and waiting for them to get bored and move on to another topic. The Obama campaign will continue to make an issue of this, but most people, regardless of their feelings on the issue, will consider it to be old news."

What advice would you give either of the presidential campaigns based on the performance of last week (please indicate either Obama or Romney at the beginning of your answer)? Select Comments

Republican Insider: Romney: "He needs to tell his personal story in a way that connects with everyday concerns of Americans."

Democrat Insider: Obama: "Focus campaign on restoring public confidence on their future -- tax fairness, pensions/ability to retire, health care, jobs and children's future."

Republican Insider: Obama: "Obama should endorse some concrete deficit reduction plan to show he's serious about tackling the national debt."

Democrat Insider: Obama/Romney: "Ease up on the tone and frequency of the commercials -- BOTH of them. I live in Virginia and the frequency and tone of the ads is such that most of us are no longer listening (at best) or fed up (at worst). Take some time off or risk losing the audience!"

Independent Insider: Romney: "Publish your 'tax returns.' Campaign on the offensive. Attacking Obama only is not going to work. Explain who you are, which values you stand up for and which ideas you will implement at the Oval Office."

Independent Insider: Romney: "Keep strong, don't lay off Obama's failed economic policies, and please think a little harder before you speak, especially in foreign countries."

Other Party Insider: Obama: "Continue to frame Romney as elitist, out of touch, and a vulture capitalist. Bain=Outsourcing, Romney=Bain, therefore Romney=Outsourcing is the message the Obama campaign should repeat."

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