BOSTON (CBS) – Today is September first. That means there are exactly 68 days to go until Election Day. And I have a question for you – will anything that happens over these final ten weeks really make a difference to you?
For instance, in February of 2011 – 22 months before the presidential election – trial match ups between President Obama and Mitt Romney showed Obama with a four-point lead. In early September of 2012, the polls on average had Obama with that same four-point lead. On Election Day, Obama beat Romney by – you guessed it – four points.
Of course there were fluctuations over time. The polling down the stretch suggested a dead-heat race. But you could argue that almost two years before the election, enough voters had fundamentally decided they liked Obama well enough to give him a second term, and that short of some cataclysmic event, nothing was going to change that.
This time around, there is no incumbent running, although Hillary Clinton has cast herself as an extension of the Obama era. And Donald Trump certainly represents a dramatic change from what Romney was offering.
But even as we obsess over each day’s news – her ethical issues, his tightrope walk on immigration, what this poll or that poll means – could it be that in the end, little to none of it will really matter?
I would offer one caveat. A disastrous meltdown by either candidate in the first debate could be impactful, although you’ll recall that Obama faltered badly in his first debate with Romney without lasting damage.
But short of that, voters already have ample information with which to make a decision. Too bad we have to wait another 68 days to see what it is.