Keith Backer, as usual, nails a good lead from Time magazine’s Mark Halperin. In it, Mr. Halperin discusses how the campaign is truly shifting and the acceleration of states like Virginia and Florida towards the Romney camp is scaring Obama supporters (North Carolina isn’t really close. Obama maintains a presence there only because it’d be embarrassing NOT to have one).
One senior Democratic official expressed real concern tonight unlike I have heard before about Ohio potentially slipping away from Obama (the state has been trending Republican in statewide races, Rob Portman has become a force, religious and gun groups are flooding the state with voter contacts, two of Romney’s top strategists have recently won a statewide race there, etc).
This doesn’t mean Romney has the upper hand right now. But it is no longer at all implausible that he could take the three Southern battlegrounds and Ohio. If he does that, he sure as heck would have the upper hand. And that leaves at least some Democrats with the shakes.
This comes hot on the heals of another poll coming out of New Hampshire showing that Obama and Romney are tied at 47% each. Remember, incumbents are consistently below the 50% mark going into an election, it does not bode well for his reelection changes. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal posted earlier this month, Karl Rove explains why:
In the past 30 days, there were 91 national polls (including each Gallup and Rasmussen daily tracking survey). Mr. Obama was at or above the magic number of 50% in just 20. His average was 47.9%. Mr. Romney’s was 45.5%.
There were 40 national polls over the same period in 2004. President George W. Bush was 50% or higher in 18. His average was 49%; Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was at 43.8%. An Oct. 4, 2004, story in the New York Times declared the Bush/Kerry race “a dead heat” and asked “whether Mr. Bush can regain the advantage.”
Mr. Bush was hitting the vital 50% mark in almost half the polls (unlike Mr. Obama) and had a lead over Mr. Kerry twice as large as the one Mr. Obama now holds over Mr. Romney. So why was the 2004 race “a dead heat” while many commentators today say Mr. Obama is the clear favorite. The reality is that 2012 is a horse race and will remain so. An incumbent below 50% is in grave danger. On Election Day he’ll usually receive less than his final poll number. That’s because his detractors are more likely to turn out, and undecideds are more resistant to voting for him.