Everywhere we go, we run into people who don’t think Barack Obama can lose re-election. He’s got too much money in the bank, too many Americans are on the dole, the GOP primary was too brutal, Mitt Romney isn’t a good enough candidate, the media is on his side…the perceived reasons Obama is unbeatable just tumble forth.
Most of those reasons are based on a perception of reality assiduously constructed by the president’s campaign, though some have merit. Obama is a sitting president representing a national political party; he’s going to have some assets as he runs for re-election.
But the latest CBS/New York Times poll indicates Obama’s re-election chances are slimmer than anyone expected. The president shows weakness in that poll which he hasn’t shown with any consistency to date; if the CBS results aren’t an outlier Obama could be due for a bigger election defeat than any sitting president since Jimmy Carter.
The poll’s bottom line isn’t a blowout: Romney leads Obama 46-43. But a few highlights show a storm coming for the president…
- Romney actually leads Obama 46-44…among women.
- The poll results are from registered voters, not likely voters – a sample which usually favors the Democrats.
- Among respondents 45 and younger, Obama leads Romney only 46-44; there’s another constituency the president is supposed to dominate.
- The sample is 34 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican and 41 percent independent. There is no chance that’s what the electorate will look like this fall; for Obama not to be leading by at least 6-8 points with that sample indicates his appeal is fading badly.
- By a 51-42 margin, respondents reject same-sex marriage. Obama’s support for it last week, a few days before this poll was taken (it was conducted from Friday to Sunday), hurts him with 25 percent of the respondents and helps him with 16 percent with 58 percent saying it had no effect. What’s more, by a 67-24 margin respondents said Obama is backing gay marriage for political reasons and not because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. Even Democrats, by a 48-42 margin, agree it’s all about politics.
- Romney has a seven-point advantage, 43-36, among independents.
Obama’s approval rating in the poll, not surprisingly given the sample, is 50 percent. That number is the best it’s been since the post-bin Laden hit bounce last year. And yet the president still can’t climb out of the mid-40’s against Romney in many of his key constituency groups – with a sample including a 9-point built-in advantage?
Dick Morris likes to say that 80 percent of the undecideds will always go against the incumbent. And in most cases that’s an assertion which bears out. If those undecideds play out the way he suggests and Romney gets 9 of the 11 percent out there, he’ll win in a 55-45 landslide.
And remember, this from a poll where Obama has a built in nine-point lead thanks to a Democrat-loaded sample.