Two quick polls start off our morning.
AP: Obama’s up, 47 percent to 46 percent, among likely voters. Fascinatingly, when it’s registered voters, Obama’s up, 50 percent to 40 percent. Among adults, Obama’s up, 52 percent to 37 percent.
USA Today: Obama’s up nationwide, 47 percent to 46 percent. In the 12 swing states, Obama’s up 48 percent to 46 percent.
Kind of amazing how often Obama’s hitting . . . 47 percent in polls lately.
According to the conventional wisdom, Mitt Romney’s Libya comment, and the furious denunciation from the Gang of 500, was supposed to be hurting him in the polls conducted in recent days. As I note in this morning’s Jolt . . .
Our Weekly Political Apocalypses Continue as Scheduled
Judging from the tone of NBC News’ Chuck Todd, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, and Jonathan Martin of Politico discussing the news of the day yesterday morning on Daily Rundown, you would have thought that Mitt Romney appeared before a group of donors, suddenly tore off all of his clothes to reveal scales and full body tattoos written in Esperanto, started chanting Satanic verses, and pledged to use America’s nuclear arsenal on all states with trees that are inappropriate heights.
Todd: “Is there any way to contain the fallout over his calling half the country dependent Obama voters? These things have legs, just ask the president . . .”
“The worst gaffes reinforce the character about the person — that is the problem with the video,” Martin said.
Cillizza: “This doesn’t just reinforce — it also plays perfectly into the Barack Obama messaging, which is, I’m a president for all of America. He is basically writing off 53 percent of the American public.” (Clearly he meant 47 percent.)
Clearly, it was the worst disaster since Romney’s comments on the attacks on our embassy . . . which, judging from the tracking polls, didn’t affect the race much at all. Heck, it might have helped him, or at least the response to the embassy attacks was more damaging to the president’s poll numbers, or perhaps neither had much of an impact, and what we’re seeing is the natural poll decline of a convention bump fading.
Or it was the worst disaster since the bizarre, meandering Clint Eastwood prime time speech . . . which didn’t affect the race much at all. Or the worst disaster since the British press went apoplectic about Romney’s even-toned, modest comments about problems in the security preparations for the Olympics . . . that didn’t affect the race much at all.
It appears that very few of the events and developments that either the MSM or the right-leaning alternative media deem momentous have made much difference this year. Look at these Gallup tracking numbers: A little separation here, a little separation there, but most of the time it is both guys neck and neck, week after week.
That may be deeply disappointing if you think Obama’s been a miserable failure as president. But in a recent column expressing skepticism of the “makers and takers” theory of the election, Ramesh pointed out that we on the Right may be assuming too much about how the electorate sees the world:
For starters, the public at large isn’t as convinced as conservatives that he has been a dismal failure. Most people cut him some slack because of the economic crisis that began under a Republican president and kept unfolding as Obama took office. They know that the economy has changed direction. Some people think the economy has done about as well as it could have under the circumstances.
Another reason Obama is doing well might have to do with the weakness of the Republican economic message. Republicans dwell on the heroic entrepreneur held back by taxes and regulation, which must be part of the story that a free-market party tells. But most people don’t see themselves in that storyline, any more than they see themselves as dependents of the federal government. They don’t see Americans as divided between makers and takers.
In yesterday’s Jolt, I said the Romney campaign ought to ease up with the fairly generic, “Obama isn’t working” slogan. But maybe they need to refine it a little to show how Obama’s policies are hindering the economic growth they seek to stimulate. There are plenty of examples of stimulus projects that spent oodles and created a disappointing number of jobs, and even the most generous cost-per-job-created figures make the whole thing look like a colossal waste. Meanwhile, Kevin Williamson lays out how private investment and a hedge-fund operator and subsidiary of Romney’s firm, Bain Capital — the same group so relentlessly demonized by the Obama campaign — are helping Kohl’s create 50,000 jobs this holiday season.