The days leading up to the first Presidential debate saw President Obama building a seemingly commanding lead in polls across the country. Nate Silver's 538 projection had the President at +85% chance of winning the election, and had a large electoral college win projected. Gallup had Obama's favorability at 54% - the highest it had been in 3 years.
Of course, then the debate happened. President Obama looked lathargic and generally disinterested, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney was energized and combatative.
What ensued was a clear victory for Mitt Romney in the first debate. This is a notion that is generally accepted by virtually everyone. Even the normal Obama apologists (Ed Schultz, I'm looking at you) acknowledged the President was flat, and thus got beat. It really was that simple. The Obama Administration themselves admitted losing the first debate. All the nation could talk about for the coming weeks was Mitt Romney's clear victory; a notion supported by the alleged "Liberal Media's" agreement.
With the momentum of the first debate, Romney surged. In the 538 model, he closed the odds of winning gap by over 20%. The electoral college projection narrowed to a gap of just 30 to 40 votes - a margin able to be overcome by just a few swing states. Romney virtually eliminated the President's lead.
Then the Vice Presidential debate happened.... then the second debate happened.... now the third debate has happened. A funny thing: the same polls which were so thoroughly cited to show Mitt Romney's "clear" victory in debate #1 very clearly indicated that Barack Obama won the following two debates, and that Joe Biden won his debate with Paul Ryan link. So, I'm sure we saw all the Mitt Romney apologists, especially on Fox News, acknowledging that their candidate lost, right?
Well, not so much. Not after the second debate, or after the third debate. Apparently, when the polls after a debate indicate a clear victory for Mitt Romney, those polls are accurate and reliable. When the same polls indicate a victory for Barack Obama, they aren't worthy of discussion. We saw the same basic thing with the presidential election polling leading up to the first debate: when they were heavily favoring Obama, they were rigged... yet, when they began showing large gains for Romney, it was proof that Romney's first debate performance was having a major impact.
And this outlines a general distinction between the parties right now: one side is more willing to have an honest discussion. When Barack Obama laid an egg in the first debate, his supporters generally acknowledged it. When polling began reflecting a Romney surge, there wasn't a massive outcry of polling foul play from Democratic people and institutions.
This approach is simply not the case with Republicans right now. When Romney makes blunder after blunder on the campaign trail and thus sees his polling numbers plummet, it's due to a Liberal polling conspiracy. When Romney is outdueled in back-to-back debates (according to the same polls which indicated Romney won the first debate), there's a general refusal to acknowledge it.
This is the difference between a political 'lean' and a political 'bias'. A political lean generally causes one to feel that a particular party expresses views which are more congruent with their own, but isn't so jaded as to not be able to ever acknowledge any potential shortcoming of their party or leaders. Someone with a political bias does what Mitt Romney's supporters are doing right now - refusing to acknowledge that their guy lost.
Unfortunately, this should probably be expected. This is the same general contingent of individuals who still claim tax cuts for rich people create jobs (they don't), that assistance to the poor is crippling the nation (it isn't), and that Obama "is the biggest spender ever!" (he isn't - not by a longshot). But, it does illustrate a maxim regarding our political climate right now: one side is, undeniably, more willing to have an honest discussion. One side embraces the "always" and "never" statements much less than the other side. In a political world where so many people are speaking to the need for compromise and bipartisanship, it seems naive to expect that such an environment can be created when one side of the political debate seems completely unwilling to maintain any consistency in their positions, approaches, or evaluative criteria. Perhaps an election defeat this year will change that tune? Undoubtedly, an election win would only embolden it further. Time will tell as to which occurs, and how helpful/detrimental it is to our nation.