President Obama is not in good shape for an incumbent. But considering what voters think of his policies, challenger Mitt Romney's position isn't great.
Here's the latest from a CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll:
President Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely voters in Ohio and Florida - and has a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania - according to a Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released this morning.
The poll, conducted from July 24-30, shows Mr. Obama leading his presumptive Republican challenger 53 percent to 42 percent in Pennsylvania. The 11-point lead results largely from independents, who favor the president by 22 points, and women, who favor the president by 24 points.
Mr. Obama holds a six-point lead in Ohio, 50 percent to 44 percent, a state where he holds a campaign event later today. His lead here is also due in large part to women, who back him by a 21-point margin. Romney leads by ten points among Ohio men, and seven points among Ohio whites.
Now, there are all sorts of problems with this polling sample. Respondents were asked who they voted for in 2008 and their sample of Florida voters went for Obama by 13 points and their sample of Ohio voters went for Obama by 15 points. The actual results in those states in 2008 were Obama by three points in Florida and Obama by four points in Ohio.
The poll wants us to believe that independents are going to go for Obama in Pennsylvania by 22 points (58-36). That's, in a word, insane. Jim Geraghty has more on just how weird the sample is.
But even if you say these samples are way off, and they seem to me to be way off, correcting them wouldn't put Romney in a great position in some states we know he'd like to win.
And my question to you is why you think this is. It's early. Anything can happen. Maybe you don't even think it's a big deal that the numbers are what they are now. But why aren't they better?
I'll get things started by passing along a couple of thoughts I read recently.
Yesterday David Brooks offered up several reasons for why the race is so boring. First, intellectual stagnation. The big government, small government debate is about where it was a generation ago. Everyone knows the arguments for and against. These arguments lack any hint of intellectual innovation. The risk of saying something wrong is so big that candidates just avoid saying anything unexpected. He says that campaigns are focused on the uninformed voters and lack serious policy proposals. Political passion is mostly negative -- driven by hatred against the other (or fear about what the other will do to the country) than positive enthusiasm for their own. There's much more -- including some interesting thoughts about how technology makes campaigns stupidly respond in the moment and get lost in tit-for-tat minutiae. He ends:
This is the paradox. As campaigns get more sophisticated, everything begins to look more homogenized, less effective and indescribably soporific.
And Byron York says:
Looking over NYT poll results (which are imbalanced), and combining that with other info, it does appear that…
Obama is benefiting from the fact that many people just don't think things will get much better, regardless of who is president…
And they give the edge to Obama, not because he'll improve things but because they think he sympathizes a little more with their plight
Really? I'm not an average voter and I try to remember that when I analyze various campaign strategies. But does the phrase "sympathizes with their plight" sound right for him? I don't know.
So how about the Ricochet mind explain it. Why is Romney struggling? Why is Obama even competitive?