Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Romney Leads Obama By One Point
The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll underscores two realities: (1) the race is neck and neck with the Republican nominee to be Mitt Romney one point ahead, and that’s before he gets any expected convention “bump, (2) this is an acutely tight race the Democrats who keep implying that in the end voters will never vote for Mitt Romney are making as unwise an assumption as Republicans who think there is no way Americans could ever re-elect Barack Obama.
We’re now going into an anything-can-happen election where, in the end, the winner may be the one who voters find least distasteful and less of a problem in the Oval Office than the alternative. That anything but a “given” given this poll and others:
The Republican National Convention opens this week with President Obama and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney running evenly, with voters more focused on Obama’s handling of the nation’s flagging economy than on some issues dominating the political debate in recent weeks.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Romney at 47 percent among registered voters and Obama at 46 percent — barely changed from the deadlocked contest in early July.
The findings continue a months-long pattern, with neither the incumbent nor the challenger able to sustain clear momentum, despite airing hundreds of millions of dollars in television ads — most of them negative — and exchanging some of the harshest early rhetoric seen in a modern presidential campaign.
Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate also did not fundamentally reshape the race, although the GOP’s conservative base has grown more enthusiastic about the ticket — but no more so about the chances of beating Obama in November.
Enthusiasm — or a lack thereof — will be on display as Republicans and Democrats hold their conventions over the next two weeks. The two parties will make their pitches to an electorate stuck in a deeply pessimistic mood. More than eight in 10 give the economy negative marks and nearly seven in 10 see the country as seriously off track — an assessment that has not changed significantly all year.
The Post-ABC survey highlights the dominance of the economy as an issue in the 2012 election. Seventy-two percent of voters say the president’s handling of the economy will be a “major factor” in their vote this November.
Fewer voters place great significance on other issues that have roiled the campaign, including newly minted GOP vice presidential candidate’s plan to restructure Medicare, differences between the parties on women’s issues and Romney’s handling of his tax returns.
The proposed Medicare changes included in Ryan’s budget proposal in the House have been a focus of sharp debate since he was picked by Romney two weeks ago, and the specific changes to the health-care program are viewed negatively by about two to one.
Though more focused on the economy, half of all voters still see the Wisconsin congressman’s plan as a big factor in their vote. That’s the same percentage that sees Democratic and Republican differences on women’s issues as playing a major factor.
Andrew Sullivan sees in this poll something that should be of concern to GOPers.
What remains notable about this convention is the acutely high stakes for both sides. GOPers see the chance with a clean sweep (Presidency, House and Senate) to consolidate and attain the goals of the Goldwater/Reagan/Tea Party movements. Democrats hope by winning the Oval Office and at least holding what they have in Congress they can avoid a total conservative take over of the Supreme Court and the dismantling of some remnants of the New Deal, Fair Deal, Great Society and even Teddy Roosevelt era.
Pollster’s average of polls shows a trend: Obama going down, Romney going up: