President Barack Obama walks towards the podium to talk about taxes, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, in the Old Executive Office building of the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
That Obama ad, with Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful” while the screen flashes a list of his offshore investments? Those demands from Democrats that Romney release his taxes from the last 10 years? They’re working.
Unable to brag about a strong economic recovering, President Obama is trying to win with a negative campaign, similar to the campaigns the Bush family ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988 and John Kerry in 2004. (Apparently, candidates from Massachusetts are easy to pick on.) As Bush Sr. did to Dukakis, Obama is attempting to portray Romney as unpatriotic and out of touch with ordinary Americans. As Bush Jr. did to Kerry, Obama is attacking Romney’s strongest resume line: in this case, his experience as a businessman.
According to two polls out Thursday, Obama has big leads over Romney -- in part because he’s driven up Romney’s unfavorable rating with the public. Fox News has Obama with a 49-40 lead. And if Fox News says Obama is winning, he must be winning. According to the network:
The president would take 49 percent of the vote compared to Romney's 40 percent in a head-to-head matchup if the election were held today, the poll found. Last month, Obama had a four percentage-point edge of 45 percent to 41 percent. This marks the second time this year the president has had a lead outside the poll’s margin of sampling error.
Obama’s advantage comes largely from increased support among independents, who now pick him over Romney by 11 percentage points. Some 30 percent of independents are undecided. Last month, Obama had a four-point edge among independents, while Romney had the advantage from April through early June.
The Obama campaign has spent heavily on advertising attacking Romney’s time at Bain Capital and his tax returns. And it appears to be working. Romney’s favorable rating dropped six percentage points since last month and now sits at 46 percent, down from 52 percent in mid-July. At the same time his unfavorable rating went up five points. Romney’s favorable rating has held steady among his party faithful, but it’s down eight percentage points among independents and seven points among Democrats.
CNN has Obama ahead by seven points, but it’s an even better poll for the President, because it shows him with the support of 52 percent of the voters -- above the magic 50 percent line that’s considered essential for an incumbent.
Mitt Romney's unfavorable rating is up, most Americans think the Republican presidential challenger favors the rich, and it appears the number of people who believe that the economy will not get better if Romney is elected has edged up slightly, according to a new national poll.
It all adds up to a seven point advantage for President Barack Obama over the former Massachusetts governor, with 52% of registered voters questioned in the survey saying that they'd vote to re-elect the president and 45% backing Romney.
Since the start of the general election in April, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups have launched attacks on the presumptive Republican nominee, and the survey indicates that they appear to be working.
Among independents, the poll indicates Romney's image has taken a beating. In May, only 40% of independents had an unfavorable view of Romney. Now, 52% of independents have a negative view of him.
Other findings: Sixty-four percent of all Americans, and 68% of independents, think Romney favors the rich over the middle class. And 63% of the public thinks Romney should release more tax returns than he has already made public, a figure which rises to 67% among independents.
At fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver is giving Obama a 73.3 percent chance of winning. The poll of polls at Real Clear Politics has Obama with a 4.4 percent lead, and shows him ahead in the swing states of Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Iowa.
With thirteen-and-a-half weeks until the election, that lead will be tough for Romney to overcome.
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $2.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.