Two new snapshot polls released today tell pretty much the same story — Mitt Romney is losing ground to Barack Obama.
I suppose when you hammer a candidate with lies and distortions that include murder, felony tax evasion, outsourcing jobs, favoring the rich, and being incapable of handling foreign policy — all in the space of two weeks — it’s going to take its toll on his popularity.
First, the Fox News Poll shows Romney trailing Obama 49-40. And the CNN Poll shows Obama up 52-45. No doubt there is some bias in the sampling, but it would be difficult to make a case that Romney has not lost ground recently.
These snapshots of the race about a month before the national conventions are liable to change very quickly once Romney announces his choice of running mate, and the conventions shape opinions of both candidates.
The good news for Romney is that there is still plenty of time to make up ground. It would help if he could change the national conversation and get the focus off of him and on to Obama. One way to do that would be to announce his choice of running mate immediately — something he may do as early as Friday.
And it better be a good one.
It would also be helpful if he tightened up his messaging by making sure all of his staffers are on the same page. The response of his spokesperson to the steel worker ad — that if he lived in Massachusetts he would have had Romneycare — was a disaster. That’s the kind of gaffe that costs the campaign in the long run. It never should have happened and there has to be better staff coordination to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
And Romney must address the challenge of winning independents. From the Fox Poll:
Obama’s advantage comes largely from increased support among independents, who now pick him over Romney by 11 percentage points. Some 30 percent of independents are undecided. Last month, Obama had a four-point edge among independents, while Romney had the advantage from April through early June.
CNN also shows Obama with an 11 point lead among independents. And Romney trails Obama 6 points among men in the CNN poll. Romney must win both groups by a decisive margin if he is to win nationally.
About the best that could be said from this dreary news is that at least Romney hasn’t peaked too soon.