Anthony Dalke @ Race 4 2012:
For those who haven’t seen it, Politico released an article that provided plenty of causes for optimism for Republicans.
Some key excerpts:
We took a special look at middle-class voters, and middle-class families in particular, in this latest POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll and found that [the belief that Romney has a weakness with middle-class support] not to be the case. In fact, on every measure it is Romney who is winning the battle for the support of middle-class families.
Overall, Obama leads Romney by just 3 points on the ballot (50 percent to 47 percent) – which before we rounded up, is actually a 2.6 point lead and only up a half-a-percentage point from the 2.1 point lead for Obama in our last Battleground poll in early August. In our latest POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll with middle-class families, which comprise about 54 percent of the total American electorate and usually split in their vote behavior between Republicans and Democrats, Romney holds a 14-point advantage (55 percent to 41 percent).
…All of this data make clear that Romney has won the strong support of middle-class families and is leading the president on an overwhelming majority of key measurements beyond just the ballot. In fact, when respondents were asked who, Obama or Romney, would best handle a variety of issues, Romney led on all but one including the economy (+9 percent), foreign policy (+3 percent), spending (+15 percent), taxes (+7 percent), Medicare (+2 percent), and jobs (+10 percent). Ironically, the one measurement Obama led Romney on was “standing up for the middle class” (+8 Obama), reinforcing that often the Democrats win the message war with the middle class, but not their hearts and souls.
…Even with the past few weeks containing some of the toughest days of earned media for the Romney campaign, and perhaps as a surprise to Washington insiders, Romney continues to win Republicans (Romney by a net +87 percent) by the same margin Obama is winning with Democrats (Obama by a net +88 percent), and is still winning with independents (+2 percent). Romney has majority support with voters over the age of 45 (+7 percent), with men (+6 percent), with white women (+9 percent), and with married voters (+14 percent). In addition, Romney has solidified his base. Support among conservative voters exceeds 70 percent (73 percent), his support among very conservative voters exceeds 80 percent (83 percent), and his support among Republicans exceeds 90 percent (91 percent). Romney is also receiving a higher level of support among Hispanics (40 percent), which is driven by higher support from Hispanic men.
…Fully 66 percent of voters select a pocketbook issue as their top concern. The Romney camp should feel good going into the three presidential debates knowing he has majority support (Romney 53 percent/Obama 44 percent) from these economically focused voters.
In fact, even with all of the misleading partisan attacks on the proposals from Ryan to reform Medicare, a majority of seniors (61 percent) select a pocketbook issue and not Medicare as their top issue of concern and nearly 6 in 10 seniors (58 percent) are voting for the Romney-Ryan ticket.
…A significant number of voters report that the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates will be extremely (11 percent) or very (12 percent) important to their vote decision…This means the debates are one of the best opportunities available for Romney to take votes from Obama. If Romney can continue to make a solid case about turning around the economy and the direction of the country in contrast to the president’s failed economic policies, these voters will be watching and many of them are currently Obama supporters.
1. Kudos to Politico, a site that has a reputation for leftward bias, for posting an article so favorable to Romney.
2. If this poll largely mirrors Team Romney’s internal numbers, the campaign’s play-it-safe strategy makes more sense. In all likelihood, they have long identified the debates as Mitt’s greatest opportunity, with his skill in the format, to pull ahead and thus hope to keep the race as close as possible until the first showdown. They’ll probably follow the debates with an all-out push, utilizing the campaign’s war chest to peak at the correct time.