With the economy enduring a record period of stagnation and with Obama’s approval rating underwater, his reelection bid was always an uphill climb. However, he had one factor working in his favor – one which was accentuated by Obama’s effective negative TV campaign barrage. He was much more likable as a person than Mitt Romney. Now, after Romney’s knockout punch at the debate, not only has he surged to a two-point lead in the latest poll of 10 battleground states, his likability numbers have gone up:
POLITICO considers the 10 competitive battlegrounds to be Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Obama’s enduring personal popularity has been a key reason for his political resiliency. But Obama and Romney are now essentially tied on likability: 53 percent of those surveyed have a positive impression of Obama personally, and 45 percent do not. The same number view both Romney and Obama strongly favorably as view them strongly unfavorably.
The Obama campaign outspent Romney on TV through the summer in an effort to define the challenger as a heartless corporate raider. The president’s super PAC, Priorities USA Action, even tried to link a woman’s death to Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital in one memorable attack ad that Romney hotly disputed.
To make matters worse for Obama, the enthusiasm gap might lead to him underperforming his poll numbers:
A Republican enthusiasm edge that has opened up in the six weeks since the conventions continues to boost Romney. Among those who describe themselves as “extremely likely” to vote, Romney leads Obama 51 percent to 47 percent. Among those who say they are “very likely” to vote, Obama leads 54 percent to 41 percent.
Lake calls these numbers “a warning to Democrats.” She adds that Obama’s support is firmer than Romney’s, with 73 percent of Obama voters saying they’re voting for their candidate compared to 59 percent who say they‘re voting for Romney.
Keep in mind that the battleground poll includes states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada, where Obama has maintained a steady lead. Yet, Romney still leads by 2 points overall among the 10 battleground states.
Things could easily change within the next three weeks, but as of now Romney clearly has the upper hand.
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