For weeks now, Obama 2012 has been throwing everything in sight at Mitt Romney in the desperate hope that these efforts could effectively destroy Romney’s viability. From debunked pro-Obama media charges of rampant outsourcing, to invented outrage over tax returns, and even baseless and reckless cries of ‘Felon!’, the Chicago smear machine has been working in overdrive.
In the above CBS/New York Times poll released today, Romney now leads Obama
, 47%-46%. These numbers reflect a survey of all registered voters, as opposed to a likely voter model that tends to be both more accurate and more favorable to Republican candidates. Indeed, this poll was weighted to reflect a 6-point edge for Democrats over Republicans. The headline is bad enough for President Obama, but a look at the questions asked within the poll shows just how much fear this must put into the White House tonight.
Obama’s job approval continues to be well below 50%. Just 44% approve of Obama’s Presidency, with 46% saying they disapprove. But on the defining issue of this campaign, the economy, Obama posts an extremely poor number. Here his approval drops to just 39%, with well over half of registered voters (55%) disapproving. It would appear that screaming “Bain!” over and over again hasn’t helped Obama make people forget about 8.2% unemployment and anemic GDP growth.
On his signature legislation, even a victory at the Supreme Court can’t dissipate the opposition America has to Obamacare. 50% of those surveyed (and 52% of independents) continue to oppose the legislation, while only 36% approve. This is an identical margin to what the poll found 3 months earlier, when 34% supported Obamacare while 48% opposed.
This poll also asked who would do better on several key issues, and Romney comes out ahead on many of the critical factors of this election. Asked who would do a better job on the economy/jobs, 49% surveyed said Romney, with only 41% for Obama. Perhaps more significant, this lead on the economy swells to 20 points among independent voters (54%-34%). Romney holds a similar lead overall on illegal immigration (46-38), a slightly smaller lead on taxes (47-42), and a sizable 14 point lead on the federal budget deficit (50-36). These numbers tell all you need to know about why Obama’s terrified of a campaign run on issues.
But wait, there’s more! Nearly 2/3rds of those surveyed said Obama’s economic policies contributed either some (30%), or a lot (34%) to our economic troubles. A mere 17% actually believe that the Obama economic plan has actually created improvement, while 46% (and 53% of independents) believe Obama’s policies will never make things better.
Perhaps most telling of all are the numbers of how people view the candidates personally. This has always been a strength for Obama: even as his job approval numbers sank, many still seemed to like him personally. This is no longer the case. Obama’s personal favorable rating is now 12 points negative, 36% favorable to 48% unfavorable. Those numbers plummet even further to 28%-52% among independents. Romney’s numbers here are not great (32% favorable, 36% unfavorable), but he’s running stronger than Obama, particularly with independent voters (32-31). Plus nearly 1/3 of voters (31%) still do not have a firm opinion of Romney on this issue, despite all the mud hurled his way by the left. All the Obama distortions seem to have done is make him less popular with voters.
While it’s important to remember that there’s still a long way to go in this election (it is only July, after all), the numbers Obama carries into the fall seem unlikely to change much. Americans dislike this Presidency, dislike his signature legislative achievement, and they do not trust him to lead on the critical issues of the day.
It makes it all so clear why the strategy from Jim Messina and the rest of Obama’s senior staff is a smear campaign: they can’t win any other way. But weeks of their desperate, flailing efforts to land a blow to Mitt Romney are proving to have failed. It’s panic time in Chicago, and they’re running low on tricks to use.