President Barack Obama heads out of the national political conventions with a much clearer path to winning, top advisers to Mitt Romney privately concede [...]At their convention, Obama campaign officials were leaking news to certain reporters that their internals were showing Obama up nine points in their daily trackers. It didn't broad attention because 1) it seemed a bit crazy, and 2) it doesn't fit the narrative that this is a close race. Now, we're hearing that conservatives are also seeing Obama Ohio leads in the "high single digits".
“Their map has many more routes to victory,” said a top Republican official. Two officials intimately involved in the GOP campaign said Ohio leans clearly in Obama’s favor now, with a high single-digit edge, based on their internal tracking numbers of conservative groups. Romney can still win the presidency if he loses Ohio, but it’s extremely difficult.
It's been over two weeks since we saw a legit poll out of Ohio, and that Q-poll, giving Obama a 50-44 advantage, first hit the field on August 15. That's a political lifetime ago. I suspect we'll see several new Ohio polls by the end of next week, which will hopefully confirm publicly what everyone else seems to be seeing privately.
Perhaps the widening gap is the reason the Romney campaign went dark in most of Ohio last week. Or maybe the gap widened because Team Red inexplicably decided to take a late-term vacation. Or maybe it didn't make a lick of difference because Ohioans are kinda glad Obama saved their auto industry, and no amount of money will change that fact. Who Knows? I certainly can't tease out any serious hint of a strategy by the Romney people beyond "we're going to lose anyway, so let's do so in spectacular fashion!". (And no, the strategy is not "the Republicans are going to steal the election", so stop that nonsense.)
There are just two things left in the GOP playbook: the presidential debates and their billionaires. The $150 million and counting spent against Obama thus far doesn't seem to have dented him much. In fact, their entire case was unraveled by Democrats at their convention last week. Check this out, from the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll:
Obama led Romney in a dozen such favorable characteristics, such as "represents America" or "has the right values."When the GOP main case is that the foreigner Obama doesn't understand America or its values, yet the president gets higher marks than Romney on those matters, perhaps you've just flushed $150 million down the crapper.
I don't fear the money. I'm wary of it, but I don't fear it. Objectively, money has done little to move the needle this cycle. As for the debates, meh. I find it hard to think up any debate scenario with this president in which he surrenders a high-single-digit lead in Ohio.
And here's the thing -- with Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania currently uncontested, Obama could lose every other close battleground state (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia) and still win with 271 electoral votes as long as he carries Ohio. Of those states, Obama trails only North Carolina. (Or did. We need new polling to see if the convention boosted him there as well.)
No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and this won't be the first year that happens.