Republican strategy over the past 2 years has been premised on the assumption that President Obama is so hopelessly weakened that the GOP needn't bother addressing centrist voters at all.
That was never a very plausible assumption, and now Ron Brownstein has the data to suggest that beyond "implausible," the assumption is outright wrong.
In 2008, Obama won 49 percent of men; Pew finds him with 45 percent against Romney. Against McCain, Obama won 56 percent of women; Pew finds him drawing 59 percent against Romney. Among white men, Pew finds Obama's support slipping from 41 percent in 2008 to 36 percent now (with all of the decline coming among white men without a college degree, the toughest audience throughout his presidency.) Among white women, though, Pew finds Obama rising from 46 percent in 2008 to 52 percent against Romney—and recording gains among both college-plus women (whom he carried last time) and the working-class "waitress moms" who strongly preferred McCain.
Whether it is the Ryan plan or the debt ceiling showdown or—now—contraception, Republicans have spent three years talking to themselves. It has been a narcissistic self-indulgence—and may soon prove a very costly one as well.