TAMPA—As they assemble in Tampa, the Republicans should consider not just whether they can win back the presidency in November, but whether they can create a viable majority that can endure past an election cycle. But they won’t. Mitt Romney and his party are oblivious to their longer term prospects.
2012 is shaping up as an election in which the winner may earn victory not by virtue of winning the most votes, but on account of the Electoral College. If one candidate enjoys a popular vote edge of 2 percentage points or more, there’s virtually no chance that the other candidate will achieve a majority of the electoral votes.
The biggest news is in Wisconsin, where the first post-Ryan polls show a closer race in the Badger State. While Obama’s 4-point edge in the CNN poll might look comfortable, notice that it’s a poll of registered voters, so it’s probably slightly closer. Given that Obama has a 3-point lead nationally, Wisconsin appears to have moved right into alignment with the nation as a whole. That’s hardly surprising given the expected bounce for a VP pic and it moves the state into the toss-up column.
Today was one of Romney’s better polling days since early May, with the balance of polling placing him in better shape both nationally and in the battlegrounds than most other polls over the last month. The Purple Strategies poll in Ohio was the first poll to show Romney with a lead in the Buckeye State since early June and it’s the second poll this week to show Romney at least tied.
It has been fashionable in the wake of Wade Michael Page’s tragic acts in Wisconsin to speculate on whether the White Power music he listened to helped stoke him into the senseless murders he committed. Such speculations, however, are as incoherent as they are pointless—and they are marked, above all, by a cloying air of self-congratulation. A comparison with another musical genre helps put the debate into relief.
Is Obama beginning to open up a bigger lead? The race has been static since Romney won the nomination, but recent polls suggest that Obama might be pulling further ahead. After recent polls from NBC/WSJ, Pew, Democracy Corps, and Reuters all gave Obama their best tallies since Romney won the nomination, Fox and CNN also showed Obama making big gains in new polls released this afternoon. The RCP average now gives Obama a 4.4 point lead, his largest lead since April.