Morning Briefing: September 18th, 2012
By Steve Deace
50 Days to Go
Here is where things stand in the 2012 campaign with just 50 days to go.
As of 9 a.m. eastern time on September 18th, the Real Clear Politics polling average gave President Obama a 3-point edge over Mitt Romney, and a 7-point edge in favorability. Obama also has at least a 1.5-point edge in all three of the most vital battleground states: Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. Keep in mind that no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio, and that’s actually the battleground state where RCP gives Obama his biggest advantage.
According to RCP, Romney is actually doing worse than John McCain was at this time four years ago, and Obama is actually polling better. With 50 days to go in the 2008 campaign, McCain trailed Obama by just 1.9 points in the RCP polling average. Considering how many broken promises, failed policies, and the state of the economy the past four years, that is simply inexcusable on the part of the Romney campaign.
What’s hurting Romney is he has the highest negatives of any major party challenger for president in the history of the Gallup Poll, not to mention his convention speech was rated the worst ever by those polled by Gallup. I’m specifically citing Gallup here because other than Rasmussen, the Gallup Poll data has been the friendliest to the Romney campaign this cycle.
With the president unable to run for re-election on his record, he has run for re-election on the idea that Romney represents the very Wall Street tycoon who cares for nothing but tax cuts for his fellow tycoons that most people can’t stand. Romney has allowed himself to be defined as such, as opposed to turning his business success into a strength by defining a clear, concise, and specific plan for putting the economy back in order. That, along with his various positions on various issues, explains why Romney’s negatives are actually higher than Obama’s.
But as I said the last time we did an update on where things stand, the only poll I really look at anymore is on Intrade, which is where futures speculators conduct para-mutual wagering on world events. Why do I follow Intrade? Because this is where some of the smartest people in the world literally put their money where their mouth is on what they think will actually happen. Intrade is where people smarter than me study the same data I study, and then place money on what they think that data indicates will happen. Following Intrade is like following where the smart traders are putting their money on the Stock Exchange.
On Intrade this morning, Obama is at 68% to be re-elected, which is up considerably from our last update. In fact, according to Intrade there is a better chance the embattled Todd Akin will be elected to the U.S. Senate in Missouri than Romney will be elected President of the United States.
One of the reasons Obama is favored so heavily is his advantage on the Electoral College map, where it takes 270 votes to win. Intrade gives Obama a 70% chance of winning the crucial state of Ohio, and a 55% chance of winning Virginia. If Obama wins those two states, there is not even a remote possibility Romney can get to 270 electoral college votes, because Michigan and Pennsylvania are not considered in play.
As of today, Intrade projects 328 electoral college votes for Obama, compared to 206 for Romney, which means Romney would out-perform McCain in 2008 but Obama would still be easily re-elected.
There is better news for Republicans elsewhere on Intrade, where speculators give Republicans an 85% chance of retaining control of the House of Representatives and a slight advantage in determining the U.S. Senate. Currently on Intrade the Republicans are at 38.8% to win the majority in the Senate, with the Democrats at 32.7% and a 50-50 tie rated as a 32% possibility.
While the GOP is still a slight favorite to retain control of the U.S. Senate, those numbers are down from where they were at our last check-in. As recently as August the GOP was at 60% to get the majority in the U.S. Senate. So why are they trending downward? Three reasons:
1) Romney’s declining numbers are bound to hurt Republicans in U.S. Senate races in states like Ohio and Virginia with reverse coat-tails.
2) The Todd Akin saga, and the civil war within the party that ensued after the GOP establishment went scorched earth against their own nominee.
3) Scott Brown’s numbers in Massachusetts have dipped.
We’ll check back in on where the race stands again on Tuesday, October 9th. That is almost a full week after the crucial first presidential debate, which will be one of Romney’s last chances to reverse the president’s current momentum.
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