Reuters/Ipsos Poll: Obama Lead Over Romney Widens Despite More Voters Feel Country is on Wrong Track

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that President Barack Obama has widened his lead of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, even though more voters feel the country is on the wrong track:

Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the future but voters do not seem to be holding it against Democratic President Barack Obama, who slightly expanded his lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney this month, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

Three months before the November 6 presidential election, nearly two-thirds of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction. Only 31 percent say it is moving in the right direction – the lowest number since December 2011.

But Obama’s lead over Romney among registered voters was 49 percent to 42 percent, up slightly from the 6-point advantage the president held a month earlier over the former Massachusetts governor.

The results of the monthly poll – in which a majority of voters agreed that the economy is the most important problem facing the United States – suggest that the Obama campaign’s efforts to paint Romney as being out of touch with the concerns of middle-class Americans could be preventing the Republican from gaining momentum in the race.

“The overall ‘right track, wrong track’ is worse than last month – the news hasn’t been great lately,” said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson. “But Obama seems to be, to some extent, inoculated against some of the worst of that.”

This also underscores:

1. The weakness of Romney himself as a nominee who presents an affirmative choice for those who don’t like Obama, versus a living body who isn’t obama.

2. The importance of his running mates. Running mates are said not to win elections (a case can be made that some of them throughout history have helped) but they can have no impact or be negative. Romney will need a running mate that bolsters him with the kinds of voters he needs to win who will do him no harm.