[T]he past week's events have not significantly altered the contours of the race.And right off the bat, you know this is going to be good.
A month ago, Gallup had Mr. Obama at 45% and Mr. Romney at 47%. On Wednesday, Gallup reported 47% for Obama, 46% for Romney. A month ago Rasmussen said it was 45% for Mr. Obama, 43% for Mr. Romney. In its Wednesday poll, Rasmussen reported 46% for Obama, 47% for Romney.What would Republicans do without the two outlier daily trackers? Because if you look at ALL national polls:
Presidential races can look one way now but much differently on Election Day. In mid-September 1980, President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan 44% to 40% in the Gallup poll. By late October, Reagan had slumped to 39% in Gallup, while Mr. Carter had risen to 47%.You know who used this argument last? John McCain. And yeah, it's also a stupid argument.
As for the here-and-now, one key number to watch is Mr. Obama's vote share. In the past month, there have been 83 national polls and daily tracking surveys. Mr. Obama reached 50% in just nine and his average was 47%.Wait, that 50 percent rule applies to incumbent presidents? Because if so, how the heck did Rove's last candidate get reelected?
Anyway, Rove goes on to admit that Romney's campaign faces some "challenges," but ...
Mr. Obama's challenges may be more daunting. His strategy hasn't worked.If Obama's strategy was to end September getting crushed in all the key battleground states while his favorabilities, job approvals, and Democratic intensity all collapsed, then yes, his strategy looks to be a big failure. But I suspect he had a different strategy.
Team Obama planned to use its big financial edge to bury Mr. Romney under negative ads over the summer. From April 15 to Labor Day, they spent an estimated $215 million on TV. But this was more than offset by conservative groups (principally American Crossroads, which I helped found). While Mr. Obama drained his coffers his own negatives climbed, and Mr. Romney partially repaired his image with voters.Clever! By making Labor Day the cutoff date, he can include the results of the Republican convention, but can omit the Democratic one. Not that it helps him much. Here are Barack Obama's job approval numbers since April 15:
Remember, Rove claims that Obama's negatives "climbed" between April 15 and Labor Day. You can mouseover the chart above to check for yourself, but here's the data: On April 15, Obama's disapproval was at 48.3 percent. On Labor Day, it was 48.1 percent. So when Rove said they "climbed," he actually meant that he didn't have any clue, but would make shit up for his column because he's Karl "The Math" Rove and he can spout whatever unsupported nonsense he wants. It's a great gig!
And of course, Obama's approval numbers jump big-time after Labor Day, ultimately proving that the hundreds of millions spent by Republicans, including Rove's outfit, were completely pissed away. Remember, the entire reason negative ads exist is to drive up a candidate's negatives, and that simply didn't happen here. Rove wasted his donors' money which is probably why he's trying to cover that up by lying about it.
Mr. Obama needs a different strategy, but his team seems stubbornly focused merely on disqualifying Mitt Romney by whatever argument or means necessary.Ha ha ha ha! Okay, yeah ...
The campaign's next likely inflection point will be the debates, which start Oct. 3. Both candidates will be under intense pressure. Mr. Romney, a skilled debater, must reassure voters he's up to the job of being president. Fluid and agile, Mr. Obama will be expected to command each encounter. If he doesn't, polls may slowly shift against him."May"? Didn't Rove just spend an entire column talking about how Obama is in trouble and is doomed unless he changes his strategy? Now he gets all hedge-y and talks about how Romney "may" gain if he Obama doesn't "command" all the debates (which he'll win anyway)?
This is when Rove should think to himself, "WWDMD"? And what Dick Morris would do is go all in with the crazy. He's already embraced it. Now he just needs to own it. It's not as if the wingnut media circuit will ever penalize him for being wrong.
It hasn't yet.