Mitt Romney listens to questions in Jacksonville, FL
Tis the beginning of the end, Mitt.
If you look into the latest battleground poll from NBC, a few things stand out:

1. The undecideds are few and Barack Obama has a structural lead.

In Virginia, Obama leads 49 to 44, but only 5 are undecided. Furthermore, only 2% say they might switch before election day. That means even if Romney swept all the undecided vote, he'd still only have a tie. He's got a structural problem in Virginia.

In Florida, same story: Obama leads 49 to 44, but only 5 are undecided. He could win all of them and still be no closer to victory. Same thing, only 2% say they might flip before election day. He's got a structural problem in Florida.

In Ohio, the news is devastating: Obama leads 50 to 44, and once again only 5 are undecided. If Romney swept all the remaining undecideds, he's still going to lose Ohio. Worse, only 2% might flip.

What this means is that Romney has to start winning over committed Obama voters if he wants to win. An almost impossible feat considering the kind of campaign he has to run to get his white vote number up into the 60 to 65 percent range. What is the structural problem of which I speak? Demographics. The Republican Party is beginning to run into the demographic wall that has been foretold for years.

2. First Read notes a key point about these three states:

These states – all of which Obama carried in 2008 but which George W. Bush won in 2004 – represent three of the most crucial battlegrounds in the 2012 presidential election. And according to NBC’s electoral map, Romney likely needs to capture at least two of these states, if not all three, to secure the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.

By comparison, Obama can reach 270 by winning just one or two of these battlegrounds  – on top of the other states already considered to be in his column.

In other words, one of Romney's must win states is already gone, namely Ohio. This means Romney has to win Virginia and Florida together. The only way he can do that is by convincing some Obama voters to flip.

Meanwhile, all President Obama has to do is win Ohio and any other battleground state out there. He's in a commanding position with multiple strategic and tactical maneuvers at his disposal.

3. The poll was broad, surveying just under 1000 likely voters in each state and has a very low margin of error at 2.7%. Obama is ahead beyond the margin of error in every state.

4. The poll was conducted on the 9th, 10th, and 11th. Which means it full absorbed the Democratic Convention and Friday, September 7th jobs number. Notably, the poll was conducted before the Libya Incident.

That's the nail in the coffin for Romney. If the jobs numbers can't change the trajectory for him, his bet that a bad economy would sink Obama looks like a flimsy premise.

There are some other nuggets noting that the country still feels the country is on the wrong track, but there has been some improvement. Also, President Obama's job approval is up into positive territory and Mitt Romney has improved his favorability somewhat. When you take those factors together, it seems the voters in the battlegrounds have come to a conclusion: Mitt Romney is unfit to be president. America is sticking with President Obama.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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