TAMPA -- Of course it's how voters are inclined in October that's important, not who they say they fancy now. But conservatives are entitled to a little funk over a new Quinnipiac University Poll showing Barack Hussein Obama, our first openly anti-American president, leading the top two contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in the three swing states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The poll, released yesterday, shows Obama leading Mitt Romney 49 to 42 in Florida, 47 to 41 in Ohio, and 45 to 42 in Pennsylvania. Our apologizer-in-chief leads Rick Santorum by slightly wider margins in each of these states.
The pollsters speculate that an improving (sort of) economy is the likely reason for the improving prospects of the father of Obamacare. A full 90 percent of those polled said they consider the economy "extremely" important" or "very important," well ahead of issues such as immigration, gas prices, the deficit, women's health, foreign policy, abortion, gay marriage, the designated hitter, etc. Sixty percent of those polled say they see the economy improving. And for reasons the pollsters did not plumb, though clarity begs for it, they give Obama some credit for this. The relative perkiness of the economy is the only significant change from two months ago, when the same pollsters found Obama and Romney in a statistical tie.
Floridians may not much fancy Obama and his works. By 49 to 47 percent in this poll they say they disapprove of the job he's doing as president. But the same crowd says by 50 to 47 percent that he deserves to be re-elected. The approval/disapproval numbers are similar in all three states. Only in Pennsylvania do voters say, by 50 to 46 percent, that he doesn't deserve to be re-elected (though they pick him over real Republican candidates).
Women have largely plighted their troth to the little hustler from Chicago. In this poll they choose him over Romney or Santorum in the three states by margins of between six and 19 percent. (But will he respect them in the morning?) Perhaps it is important after all that a flat broke country provide free birth control pills, condoms, sterilization procedures, sex-change operations, and subscriptions to the Playboy Channel to middle class law school students. (Just so long as we don't buy them smokes for afterward.)
Apparently O'Barnum's energy policy of wringing our hands about the Middle East and checking under the bed every night for oil speculators, while at the same time regulating all aspects of domestic fossil fuel industries to within an inch of their lives, is gaining traction. According to this poll, 32 percent of voters in these swing states say oil companies are most to blame for high gas prices. Another 23 percent say other oil producing countries are to blame, while only 16 percent have tumbled to a connection between supply and demand (which law O'Barnum's Department of Energy, with an assist from his EPA, has repealed). About 60 percent of those polled saw some connection between regulations and high oil prices, though many obviously didn't connect the final dot back to O'Barnum on regulation.
On the local level, the poll finds that conservative Florida Governor Rick Scott remains marginally more popular than gum disease. By 52 to 36, those polled say they disapprove of the job Scott is doing as governor. In Ohio it's a wash, where 42 percent say they approve of the job Republican Governor John Kasich is doing, and another 42 percent don't.
So after three years of a president who has swamped the country in more debt than the entire planet could probably pay off, who has super-sized every aspect of the federal government save the military, which he's gone about shrinking while using what remains of it for left social engineering, who has truckled to foreign leaders and apologized for America at every opportunity, we still find, at least in this poll, that a majority of voters in center-right Florida believe we should sign up for four more years of this kind of hope and change.
Conservatives have a right to ask themselves, "What will it take?" Has Florida changed so much that socialism and Big Brother at home, along with weakness abroad, are the preferred approaches in the land of sunshine and mildew? (It's NOT a dry heat here.)
It's more than seven months until Election Day. That's at least a hundred lifetimes in politics. Much can and will change between now and then. But even so, conservatives have every right to be glum about the little billet-doux we received yesterday from the folks at Quinnipiac. Those paying the least attention know that without Florida's 29 electoral votes there's no way the conservative side wins the presidency. The road to the White House goes right down Interstate-4 from Daytona to St. Petersburg.
Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
Larry Thornberry firstname.lastname@example.org