Critical Mass?

07.19.12

The New Polls and the "Enough's Enough" Question

There's obviously no getting around the fact that today's polls have lots of bad news for Obama. The Times has Romney ahead for the first time, albeit by just 1 point so that it's basically the same tie it always was, but still, it's a small Romney shift. Quinnipiac's Virginia finding is more alarming, as it finds Romney tied in a state Obama has been leading in most polls by four to eight points.

There is also a new NPR poll showing a battleground state tie. This survey also has bleak-to-mixed news for Obama on health care. As Mara Liasson explained it this morning, independents still disapprove of the bill by I think it was 52 to 39. But then the survey tested statements reflecting each parties' spin on the bill, and on that front, the Democratic spin slightly outscored the Republican spin.

But overall, this is a dark picture for Obama, because it suggests the possibility that a critical mass of swing voters is starting to decide that enough's enough, the economy's just too sputtering, and we need to change horses. It's my sense that psychology, these latest economic setbacks are having a huge impact on people. Things were looking okay in the winter and early spring, like we were finally crawling out of it. And now we're back in the doldrums.

It doesn't mean the Bain attacks are failing. There's evidence in several polls I've looked at that, while there's no change in the horse-race polls, the perception-of-Romney polls have changed for the worse. For example the Wash Post just found that twice as many swing-state voters (though less than 50 percent) "consider Romney’s work in buying and restructuring companies a reason to oppose, rather than to support, his candidacy."

Long way to go and all that. But current economic news is bad too. Bad weekly jobless claims number today. If a majority of swing voters decide that they're just sick of the sluggish economy, that's an emotion that can override everything else.