Check out the national trendlines the last three months, including Rasmussen's bogus bump:
Despite the tumult of the last several months, Mitt Romney's numbers held rock-steady between May and the end of July. I see a low of 44.1 and a high of 45.4.
That level of support was somewhat at odds with the lower numbers Romney has been getting in battleground states:
On the flip side, while Pres. Barack Obama was stuck in the 46-47 range in the national polling, he was easily outpacing that in the battleground states.
We've speculated before about why the two sets of polling seemed so discordant. The most plausible theory was that Obama was doing better in the battleground states because that's where he was focusing his campaign—both in paid media and campaign appearances.
That theory just got a major boost, as the national polling has finally caught up to the state-level polling. Look at those national numbers again—Obama is in the 49s (50 percent without Rasmussen), while Romney has absolutely tanked ... to the same 43s we see in the states above.
So what happened the last two weeks? The presidential race was nationalized. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went public with
John Huntsman Sr his "source's" assertions that Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years. Suddenly, people who weren't political junkies and didn't live in battleground states got their first good look at Mitt, and they didn't like what they saw. In fact, Reid's gambit was so effective that it punched through the wider public despite the Olympic Game's news domination.
Of course, none of this would've been possible had the GOP just ignored Reid. But their over-the-top freakout by everyone who hasn't seen Romney's taxes (notice how quiet John McCain has been?) simply helped keep the story alive. So, uh, thanks Republicans!
And remember, Republican Super PACs have spent nearly $100 million already on purely negative ads attacking Obama. As the trendlines above show, all those conservative billionaires are doing is pissing away their money. Not only are Obama's numbers resilient and rising, but Romney is tanking.
Two questions left:
1) Can Romney's vice presidential pick shake up the race? And the answer to that is no, picking boring white guys like Paul Ryan don't generally shake up races. Though to be fair, he'll put the Republican-leaning senior vote in play; and
2) Can the GOP convention give Romney a chance to reintroduce himself to the American people? If Romney had a compelling personal story other than "I'm the asshole son of a rich, connected governor", perhaps. But he's got nothing. And the media will be on the prowl for the juicy stories—the budding insurrections and whatever nuttiness the Paulites come up with. It's going to be glorious. For us.
Feels awesome, doesn't it?
Conservatives today are feeling what I was feeling exactly two years ago. #SinkingFeelingOfDoom
One more point—as much as the tax return story has hurt Romney, he still
refuses to release them! That means that as much pain as he's suffering now, what's in those taxes would hurt him even more.
And that just boggles the mind.