We are told the 2012 battle for the White House is about preserving and strengthening the middle class. Mitt Romney leads with middle class voters by 14 points.
We are told voters are most concerned with the economy, and those most likely to cast a ballot in November think the economy will fare better with Romney at the helm than if President Barack Obama is re-elected.
We're told Americans are getting worried about the president's foreign policy after "The Libya Debacle" and his inability to get in front of mounting problems in Egypt, Syria, and Iran. We're told anti-American sentiment has spiked around the globe, and that President Obama's efforts to address this—snubbing world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to make time for an appearance on the TV chat-fest The View and more in-your-face campaigning—have not played well among the American public.
And, as conservative commentator Bill Bennett points out, all of that is on top of the unemployment rate that has stayed above 8 percent for 43 straight months, the $800 billion stimulus that didn't stimulate, the poverty rates at a 20-year high, food stamp use at an all-time high, and participation in the workforce among men at an all-time low.
Given all this, how on earth can Romney be faring so poorly in the polls—particularly in the all-important swing states?
Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report
A little more than 24 hours have passed since Mitt Romney took the base-alienating step of touting the health care law he signed while governor of Massachusetts in an interview with NBC. Unlike the last time his campaign heralded his signature achievement, however, the conservative grumbling was relatively muted.
Why? Because, Republicans say, things are so bad for Romney that they’ll even let him talk up his health care law.
“A sizable portion of the voters that Romney needs to win over in the swing states are okay with ObamaCare,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP consultant. “And the right recognizes that Romney is running behind in the polls, and will permit him — within reason — to use any tool necessary to salvage this election."
Read more from Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM
From The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Obama told Americans in 2009 that if he did not turn around the economy in three years his Presidency would be "a one-term proposition." Joe Biden said three years ago that the $830 billion economic stimulus was working beyond his "wildest dreams" and he famously promised several months after the Obama stimulus was enacted that Americans would enjoy a "summer of recovery." That was more than three years ago.
There's nothing unusual about candidates making grandiose promises that don't come true. And it's a White House tradition to blame one's predecessor when things don't get better. (Usually these Presidents end up one-termers.)
The bad faith wasn't then. It's now. Mr. Obama really believed that government spending would unleash a robust recovery in employment and housing—an "economy built to last." Now that this hasn't happened and with the Congressional Budget Office predicting a possible recession for 2013, Team Obama claims these woeful results were the best that could have been expected.
The problem with this line is that every President who has inherited a recession in modern times has done better. Under Mr. Obama, measured on the basis of jobs, GDP growth and incomes, this has been by far the meekest recovery from the past 10 recessions.
The Administration and its acolytes claim that the nature of the 2008 financial collapse was different from past recessions, and that it can take up to a decade to restore growth after such a financial crisis. Economist Michael Bordo rebuts that claim with historical economic evidence nearby.
In reality, the biggest difference between this recovery and others hasn't been the nature of the crisis, but the nature of the policy prescriptions. Mr. Obama's chief anti-recession idea was a near trillion-dollar leap of faith in the Keynesian "multiplier" effect of government spending. It was the same approach that didn't work in the 1930s, didn't work in the 1970s, didn't work in 2008, and didn't work in such other nations as Japan. It didn't work again in 2009.
From Charlie Cook at NationalJournal:
A year and a half ago, it looked like Republicans had a 65 to 70 percent chance of capturing the Senate. The 23 Democratic seats up for grabs, compared with just 10 for Republicans, offered the GOP many opportunities for gains, particularly in states that Democrats had captured from Republicans in 2006. Jennifer Duffy, senior Senate editor of The Cook Political Report, now argues that the range of possible Senate outcomes goes from Republicans picking up two or three seats to actually losing a seat or two.
For the most part, the deterioration of the Senate outlook is unrelated to Romney’s problems at the top of the ticket, and it comes despite a strong effort by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But there’s no denying that things are not looking so good for the red team in the Senate. Arguably, Republicans now have a chance against only one of the four most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents, with GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg now running even with in . Republican prospects to unseat Democrats in , in , and in are remote, at best. Top-tier recruits in open seats in and have not caught on despite strong campaign efforts, further undercutting GOP chances of securing a Senate majority. Two moderate Democrats running for open Senate seats in very Republican states are doing unexpectedly well: Democratic former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp is locked in a tight race in with GOP Rep. , while Democratic is in an equally close contest with Republican state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in . Republicans were heavily favored to win both seats early on; now both races are very tight.
Duffy points to the last time this class of Senate seats was up, in 2006: Then, three Senate seats and control of the chamber were settled by 60,665 votes spread among three states, Missouri, Montana, and . Of the 10 Senate races that The Cook Political Report rates as toss-ups, six are now in Democratic hands and four are in GOP hands. The range of possible outcomes is very wide.
From Mike Shannon and Will Feltus at The NationalJournal's Hotline On Call:
George Washington famously brewed it. James Madison purportedly sought to create a cabinet-level Secretary of Beer. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped make it legal to produce and sell (again) by championing legislation repealing Prohibition. Upon signing the bill, he reportedly said, "I think this would be a good time for a beer."
Beer is also a staple on the presidential campaign trail, with candidates often visiting pubs to show they understand the common man. Similarly, pollsters sometimes ask the question, "Who would you rather have a beer with?" to gauge which candidate has the likeability edge.
We've analyzed Scarborough Research data, which includes 200,000 interviews with American adults, to determine the politics of beer drinkers.
Credit: Tracey Robinson, NMRPP
From The New York Times:
A wide majority of Pennsylvania voters support state efforts to require photo identification to vote, the latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll finds.
The new law is backed by 62 percent of likely voters, including about 9 in 10 Republicans and two-thirds of independents. Most Democrats are opposed. There are 10 other states with voter ID requirements.
The law made its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which ruled last week that the lower court that had upheld it must determine first whether the state was doing enough to prevent voter disenfranchisement.
The question provided respondents with both sides of the debate, saying that some people say such a law is “needed to prevent people from voting who are not eligible to vote,” while others argue that “such efforts are designed to suppress voting by minorities.”
The law is backed by most men and women, as well as majorities across all age and income groups. But while two-thirds of white voters support the law, fewer, about 4 in 10, nonwhite voters agree.
Some Republican strategists are already preparing for the worst. The numbers, frankly, are dismal. Nearly 2 of every 3 Latinos favor President Obama to Mitt Romney. Voters in the gay and lesbian community favor Mr. Obama by the same margin. Women favor the president by 51 percent to 41 percent, according to an August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. And African-Americans? One poll suggested that Mr. Romney is being skunked: 94 percent to 0 percent.
Clearly, the GOP has a minority problem. But Republican strategists aren't just worried about November – they're worried about the Novembers after that.
"The GOP cannot continue to be the party of old, white men and succeed on the electoral map, [and in] the White House, going forward," says Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist and chairman of the political-action committee Civic Forum PAC in Washington.
"That's why Romney's hanging on," says O'Connell. "The white working-class, blue-collar voters. That is essentially his base."
What's more, minorities are less likely than whites to be eligible and registered to vote, and to turn out at the polls. But Romney is running on excessively thin margins.
The minority vote "is likely to push President Obama over the top," says O'Connell.
Even if Romney could pull it out, the win would not be a road map for the future.
Some Republicans, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and former President George W. Bush, have been warning the party for years that it needs to do more to reach out to minorities, especially Hispanics. "It's next to impossible to compete if the numbers are against you," says O'Connell. "If the rest of the GOP was singing this tune, they would be much better off."
Read more from Husna Haq at The Christian Science Monitor