NBC/WSJ Poll: Romney Has Problems Including No Bounce From Ryan Pick (UPDATED)
A new NBC/WSJ poll has some bad news for presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney: Barack Obama still leads, Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan has given him no bounce, and voters are uneasy with him due to his income tax questions and plans to overhaul Medicare. The poll is not good news for Romeny heading into a convention in an era where chances in communcation and big money mean a “bounce” in general ain’t what it used to be:
A Democratic ticket featuring Obama and Vice President Joe Biden gets support from 48 percent of registered voters, and a Republican ticket of Romney and new running mate Paul Ryan gets 44 percent.
These numbers are only slightly changed from July, when Obama led Romney by six points in the survey, 49 percent to 43 percent, suggesting a minimal bounce for Romney (if at all) after this month’s Ryan pick.
This seemingly negates the narrative among conservative talkers and new media types that Ryan would be greeted as a “rock star.”
If that’s the comparison, these numbers suggest Ryan is being greeted like “Fabian” on a 2012 multi-city, big stadium revival tour.
While the state of the U.S. economy and the nation’s direction continue to pose significant obstacles for the president, the poll points to even steeper challenges for Romney, including concerns about his tax returns and a lack of support for his plans to overhaul Medicare.
“The election has moved from a referendum to a choice,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “Mitt Romney is starting to accumulate a number of negatives on the personal front and issues front.”
Looking ahead to next week’s Republican convention, which begins on Monday in Tampa, Fla., Hart adds: “Mitt Romney has a lot of repair work to do with his image.”
Imagery can be repaired but there are some constraints Romney will face:
But McInturff argues that there’s still a path to victory for Romney, especially with Obama’s numbers below that all-important 50 percent threshold for an incumbent.
“When a guy gets stuck at 48 percent, it doesn’t mean they are out of the clear,” he says. “It means they are in an incredibly competitive campaign
In a smaller sample of voters living in 12 key battleground states – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin – Obama leads Romney by three points, 49 percent to 46 percent.
That’s a narrower edge in these battlegrounds than the eight-point lead the president enjoyed in the June and July NBC/WSJ polls.
Looking inside the numbers, Obama continues to lead Romney among key parts of his political base, including African Americans (94 percent to 0 percent), Latinos (by a 2-to-1 margin), voters under 35-years-old (52 percent to 41 percent) and women (51 percent to 41 percent).
The 0 percent for Romney among African-Americans is jarring. It suggests that if Romney wins he will have a major segment of the American electorate almost solidly against him or distrustful of him.
Romney is ahead with whites (53 percent to 40 percent), rural voters (47 percent to 38 percent) and seniors (49 percent to 41 percent).
Obama may not make sufficient inroads to trim Romney’s advantage among white voters (but at least Obama is not at 0%) — but the campaign is working mightily to change the numbers on seniors. And the selection of Ryan may help Camp Obama on that.
On balance, the four national polls showed no shift from their prior results. The NBC/WSJ poll shows Obama with a four point advantage, down from 6 prior to the Ryan pick. For those who might recall the big discussion over party-ID after the last NBC/WSJ poll, you might note that the Democratic edge is down to a more modest 6 points, yet the result didn’t change too much. The bottom line is that we head into the convention just about where we started: Obama up 4 among registered voters. The poll also showed Obama leading among high-intensity voters, which would leave him poised to maintain the lead after a switch to the likely voter model. Some were amused by Obama’s 94-0 lead among African American voters, but that was probably bound to happen at some point, given his 95-5 victory in the 2008 exit polls and the small African American subsamples in most surveys.
There were, however, some telling results. Perhaps no question captures the heart of this election more than the disconnect between the 43 percent of voters currently saying Obama deserves reelection and the 48 percent offering him their support in a head to head match-up against Romney. Along the same lines, voters say they’re hearing more negative things about Romney than positive things. Romney’s favorability numbers are underwater and there’s just nothing that’s moving them in the right direction.
One number that will get way too much attention: Obama’s double-digit lead on the issue of Medicare. Not only are there issues about the framing of the question, but only 50 percent of voters said they trusted Obama more on Medicare than Romney. That’s just 2 points better than his share of the vote on an issue that Democrats historically do quite well on.
UPDATE: On the Akin mess, First Read notes its impact:
*** The Akin story has become a mess for the GOP: There is really no other way to put it: The entire Todd Akin story has become an unequivocal mess for the Republican Party. Consider: This is THE STORY just days before the GOP convention, drawing attention to the GOP’s platform on abortion; Akin — so far — is remaining in the race, despite pleas from party leaders like Mitt Romney; and he even went on “TODAY” this morning, saying, per NBC’s Jamie Novogrod: “I think that anybody who’s doing a lot of public speaking can make a mistake. The people of my state … knew I wasn’t perfect.” Indeed, Akin may be doing as much damage to the GOP brand right now BEFORE the convention as Pat Buchanan’s famous 1992 speech did AT the convention. But writing in National Journal, Matthew Dowd makes a very good point about the entire Akin affair. “Make no mistake, the calls for Akin’s resignation likely had nothing to do with the substance of his remarks — keep in mind, the Republican platform has a call for a ban on abortion even in cases of rape. They had nothing to do with the fact that Akin has long held out-of-the-mainstream positions on many issues and made numerous extremely conservative statements. Akin’s mistake was that by opening his mouth with crazy talk … made it much harder for Republicans to win a sure Senate seat pickup with him on the ballot.”
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