If common sense wrote this election’s narrative, Mitt Romney would be Bain-battered, bruised-brained and bleeding in the polls. Thankfully, common sense isn’t so common.
Common sense would dictate that after enduring a week of vicious news cycles, the Republican challenger would be down by five to seven percentage points to President Obama. After all, Mr. Romney has been playing constant defense on his record at Bain capital and his tax returns. Headlines from some news sources even suggested the candidate could be a felon for evading taxes and committing fraud. This isn’t exactly positive news coverage.
Meanwhile, the incumbent has spent nearly every day of the last week on the campaign trail in vital swing-states – both in person and on the airwaves. Obama has been ferociously campaigning in battleground states for the last seven days, and his ad team has actually outspent the Romney camp by millions of dollars over the last month.
But Romney has rolled with the punches, and is now gaining ground. According the Gallup.com (DYNAMO’s preferred pollster), the race has tightened in Romney’s favor. While in May the former Massachusetts governor was down 43% to Obama’s 50%, today’s poll results have the two candidates tied at 46%. This level is a slight deviation from last week, when Romney was down 47% to 45%.
Surprisingly, a different poll by CBS News actually has Romney at 47% – leading the President by just a single percentage point. While still within the 3% margin of error, this is the first time the organization has reported a Romney lead, indicating strong momentum for the candidate they had down by 8% last month.
Perhaps more importantly though, Romney is now tied up with the President in the swing states. From a CNN report:
“[A] Quinnipiac University survey indicated Virginians split 44%-44% for the two presidential candidates. The race has tightened since March, when Obama led Romney 50%-42%, and the beginning of June, when Obama was ahead 47%-42%.”
And Politico reports more race-tightening in Florida:
“The Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald and Bay News 9 have a poll out today that shows the state perched on a knife’s edge, with Obama at 46 percent and Mitt Romney at 45 percent.”
This all comes despite Obama’s repeated and often personal attacks. If such tactics were doing any damage to Mr. Romney, we should see the candidates drifting further apart in the polls, not closer together. The news from the battlegrounds is especially worrisome for the Obama campaign – their brutal attack strategy is expensive, draining, and unsustainable. Across the aisle, Mitt’s team should feel jubilant – for now at least, they’ve weathered the storm.