The latest Quinnipiac polls of Florida and Ohio show support for President Obama surging in each state. Obama gained 4 points of support in Ohio, and 6 points in Florida over the past month.
The Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll revealed how much the dynamics of this election have shifted since the Democratic convention. The economy was supposed to be Romney’s signature issue. The Republican sold himself as a businessman who could get the economy moving again, but voters in Ohio and Florida aren’t buying it. President Obama now leads Romney on the economy, 51%-46% in Florida and 51%-45% in Ohio.
After Romney’s 47% comments, two questions tell the story of where this election now stands. Florida and Ohio were asked who will each candidate’s policies favor, and they overwhelmingly answered that Romney’s policies would favor the rich, by margin of 56%-7% in Florida and 58%-8% in Ohio. In contrast, Obama’s policies were viewed as favoring the middle class and poor in both Florida (55%-8%) and Ohio (53%-10%). Obama has opened up a huge lead on the question of who cares about your needs and problems. Obama leads Romney 57%-41% in Florida and 59%-38% in Ohio on the simple, but essential question of who cares more about you.
Obama has a nearly 20 point lead with women in Florida (58%-39%), and has cut Romney’s lead down to 3 points with men (47%-50%). Not surprisingly, Romney’s selection of Rep. Kill Medicare as his running mate has cost him with seniors. Romney has gone from a 12 point lead with seniors in August to a 4 point deficit today. You read that correctly. Obama leads with seniors in Florida. By a margin of 66%-28%, including 36% of Republicans, Florida respondents support the Dream Act.
In Ohio the story is similar to Florida, except that Obama has an even larger 25 point lead with women in the state. Mitt Romney’s has seen the Medicare issue blow up in his face in the Buckeye State too, as he has gone from an 8 point lead with seniors to trailing Obama 48%-47%. Obama has also cut Romney’s lead with white voters down from 9 points to 3 points. By more than a two to one margin, Ohio respondents consider the auto bailout a success (62%-30).
The knee jerk reaction to the shift in the polls is to blame Romney’s 47 percent comments, but a more comprehensive look at the results reveals that Romney’s problems go much deeper than his most recent self inflicted wounds and gaffes. His 47% comments were an confirmation of what the electorate suspected was true about the Republican ticket, but Romney selection of Ryan is costing him dearly with swing state seniors. His opposition to the Dream Act is hurting him in Floria, and he is being crushed in Ohio due in part to his opposition to the auto bailout.
All three of these positions don’t just belong to Mitt Romney. These are the stated positions of the Republican Party. All of Romney’s decisions were made to appeal to the Republican rank and file. Romney selected Ryan to appeal to the Republican base. Romney opposed the Dream Act and the auto bailout, because that is the position that has been taken by a majority members of his own party.
The problem here isn’t just that Mitt Romney strikes voters as uncaring, dishonest, smarmy, and unlikable. The bigger issue is that a majority of the electorate disagrees with the policy positions of the Republican Party.
It doesn’t matter who the Republican Party would have nominated, because any of their candidates would be losing to Obama. The Democratic Party and this president are better organized and they have the better message. Obama is a better campaigner than anyone in the GOP, and since the Republicans have moved far to the right, the center of American politics now belongs to Obama and the Democrats.
Obama is surging because he is a better candidate with a better message, but it isn’t just Mitt Romney that voters are saying no to.
The American people are rejecting the beliefs and ideology of the Republican Party.