A new USA Today/Gallup poll which includes specific data on “swing states” has Barack Obama with his largest lead of this election season over Mitt Romney among registered voters nationally and in those swing states.
Obama’s 4-point lead over Romney is the largest margin for either candidate since the question was started being asked in August. Obama’s lead over Rick Santorum is twice as large, at 8 percent.
For the first time since the question started being asked in late October, Obama leads Romney in a dozen key “swing states”:
The last piece of bad news for Romney in today’s report is in the declining enthusiasm of those who say they would support him, with a dramatic drop over the last two months from 56 percent to 43 percent being “extremely enthusiastic” or “very enthusiastic” about voting. Obama’s enthusiasm numbers also dropped, from 50 percent to 46 percent.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, Romney has suffered dramatically among women under 50 years old. In February, Obama led among this group by nine percent. That lead has since doubled to 18 percent. This is a gender gap which must be narrowed by the eventual Republican nominee, no matter who he is, in order to have any chance of winning this election. In my view — and I know that many “real conservatives” out there will squawk — Romney’s running as a “severe conservative” is a major political loser in the general election, and it hasn’t really helped him in the primary season either as the Republican base doesn’t believe him. So he’s getting the worst of both worlds by trying to portray himself as a rock-ribbed conservative
Democrats shouldn’t start planning Barack Obama’s re-inauguration just yet.
We’ve been through two months of intense battle among the Republican presidential hopefuls, with Santorum and Romney in particular dragging each other down with intensely negative ads and comments.
Despite Romney’s modest attentions to Obama, the president has gone essentially unscathed over the last two months, not least because of the “mainstream” media’s interest in seeing him re-elected.
Can you imagine what the New York Times and Washington Post would have done to a Republican president who whispered to a Russian leader that he would have “flexibility” on missile defense negotiations after an election?
Can you envision what the network news broadcasts would have done to a Republican president with pictures of gas stations selling gasoline over $4 per gallon?
Complaining about media bias is fruitless. My point is that once a Republican nominee is selected, his focus will be intensely and solely on President Obama and this administration’s destructive policies — and the media will have to cover it.
Mitt Romney isn’t doing himself any favors in terms of generating enthusiasm by visiting a massive home he’s renovating, complete with an elevator for his cars. The New York Times said that they received plans for the expansion from “a rival campaign.” One has to wonder whether the Times got the info from the Obama team but is trying to make it sound like it came from the Santorum campaign in order to add ammunition to the typical Republican circular firing squad.
Still, people know that Romney is rich. They know he’s the 1 percent of the 1 percent. The question is whether the Democrats are overestimating how much that will hurt Romney in November, especially in comparison to an incumbent who seems as out of touch with the average American — who has to pay his own gasoline and electricity bills, and worry about his own employment — as any Democrat in recent memory, Jimmy Carter included. Obama is every bit the elitist that Romney is, just not as wealthy an elitist.
Obama remains personally popular, whether because he’s a “historic” first black president or because he seems like a good family man or because voters are subconsciously hesitant to admit they made a mistake (or were fooled) as egregious as the mistake the nation made in 2008, not just in electing Barack Obama but in giving Democrats enough power in Washington that they could jam Obamacare down our throats.
Therefore, Romney’s challenge, if he is to reverse these poll numbers — and I believe he will — is to find a way to attack Obama’s record and policies without sounding as if he’s attacking Obama personally.
During the heat of a Republican primary season, neither the media nor the public is listening intently to Republican critiques of Obama. And of course the media is ignoring any piece of news which is not favorable to the president, which is to say every piece of recent news that involves him.
This, more than anything fundamental about Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, is what Monday’s poll results are telling us. Yes, it would be better for Mitt Romney if his numbers hadn’t suffered so badly over the last two months. But overconfidence by Democrats or excess concern by Republicans is not warranted…at least not yet.
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