According to the latest round of NBC-Marist polls, President Obama and presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney are locked in a virtual tie among registered voters in Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. This Midwest and Western states are considered by those in the know to be key battleground venues in the November elections.
In Iowa, Obama and Mittens polled at an even 44 percent favored rate, with 10 percent declaring themselves undecided. In Colorado, the President currently edges Romney by a mere percent while his lead stretches to two points in the home of Las Vegas. While the election season remains in its early stages (I know that may be difficult to believe given the oversaturation many of us already feel), the numbers are cause for concern to the President’s re-election team.
Meanwhile the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News sample ran with the headline, “Poll shows Romney becoming more likeable.” The challenger’s favorability rating registered at 41 percent, up six points from a month ago. This statistic may be less of a concern for the Obama camp, not simply because the Commander-in-Chief’s own likability index is 11 points higher at 52 percent. If there’s one thing that most members of our dysfunctional two-party political system can agree upon, it’s that Mitt Romney is a crushing bore.
So yeah ok, the race is becoming more competitive as we approach convention season and Mittens is doing courageous work trying to overcome liabilities that include anger from animal lovers (the whole driving to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof bit – thank you Gail Collins), women (this year’s tone-deaf assault on female reproductive rights), the gay community, people who prefer their politicians to have genuine, stable positions on the issues and last but not least, Latinos. It makes me wonder who exactly these pollsters are speaking with when they collect their data.
This question could be posed relative to any of the groups mentioned above, but the results of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll published last week indicate that Obama enjoys a staggering 34-point lead over Mitt Romney amongst Latino voters. How does the Romney Team think they can bridge that crater? Perhaps of even greater concern: only 26 percent of Spanish-heritage voters view the GOP candidate positively, while 35 percent reported a negative opinion. There are 50 million Latinos in this country with a 3.1 percent population growth between July 2008 and July 2009 alone. This is not likely to change and in the midst of many challenges faced by the Romney campaign, the lopsided nature of the candidiates’ perception within the Hispanic citizenry should be a five-alarm panic.
The aversion to Romney amongst Latinos is not entirely the Dull One’s doing. For this state of affairs, Mitten can thank members of his own party like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer who has helmed a crusade against her state’s prominent Spanish contingent, or former Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain who offered an electrified barbed-wire fence on the US-Mexico border as the answer to out nation’s outdated immigration policies. Forward thinking like this from the new crop of GOP standard bearers almost makes one pine for the comparatively progressive views of Dubya.
Despite what general election polls suggest, the numbers don’t add up and history teaches us that statistics are themselves only another statistic when it comes to predicting U.S. Presidential contests. The insights are useful and needless with almost equal frequency. The doom spelled for the future of the GOP’s appeal in its alienation of women and minorities has yet to be experienced at its height. This gives us something to anticipate in future election cycles. But any Republican strategists who think that rich white men can carry Mittens to victory in November are kidding themselves. There’s only so much disenfranchising you can do, though I expect GOP lackeys to continue giving it the old college try.