A new Pew Research Center poll finds that President Barack Obama enjoys a “significant” lead over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney — and that the Supreme Court’s standing with voters has diminished mostly due to Republican discontent:
Despite the stagnant economy and broad dissatisfaction with national conditions, Barack Obama holds a significant lead over Mitt Romney. Currently, Obama is favored by a 50% to 43% margin among registered voters nationwide. Obama has led by at least a slim margin in every poll this year, and there is no clear trend in either candidate’s support since Romney wrapped up the GOP nomination.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 28-July 9, 2012 among 2,973 adults, including 2,373 registered voters, finds that Romney has not seized the advantage as the candidate best able to improve the economy. In fact, he has lost ground on this issue over the past month.
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the 2010 Affordable Care Act appears to have had little effect on the 2012 race. But the decision has had a substantial impact on views of the court itself.
About half of Americans (51%) express a favorable opinion of the court, while 37% have an unfavorable view, up eight points since April and the highest percentage expressing an unfavorable opinion in a trend dating to 1985. The more negative view of the court is largely being driven by Republicans: Three months ago, Republicans viewed the Supreme Court favorably by a 56% to 25% margin. Today, they view the court unfavorably by a 51% to 38% margin.
The presidential campaign’s dynamics have changed little in recent months, despite the court’s high-profile health care ruling, a series of subpar job reports and increased campaign activity on the part of both candidates. Independent voters remain evenly divided, 46% support Romney while 45% back Obama. Nearly identical majorities of Democrats (88%) and Republicans (89%) support their party’s candidate. Obama’s lead arises from the Democratic Party’s continuing advantage in party identification among registered voters.
While Romney has nearly uniform support from his base, he continues to struggle in building enthusiasm. Just 34% of Romney voters support him strongly, compared with 64% of Obama’s backers. Yet this lack of enthusiasm does not mean that Republican voters are disengaged. Seven-in-ten Romney supporters say they have given quite a lot of thought to the election, compared with 62% of Obama supporters. This gap has remained consistent throughout the year.
The electorate remains deeply unhappy with the way things are going in the country. Just 28% of registered voters say they are satisfied with national conditions, while two-thirds (67%) are dissatisfied, which is largely unchanged from recent months.
And independent voters? Bad news for both parties, a little worse news for the GOP:
Independents View Both Parties Unfavorably. For the first time in the past four election cycles, majorities of independent voters view both parties unfavorably: 57% of independents have an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party, while 62% view the GOP unfavorably.
The conventional wisdom — which is a sure thing until it isn’t — is that if the electorate feels the country is on the wrong track, the incumbent is politically doomed.
But this could be an election where it involves an inept President running against a stunningly inept challenger. Some Republicans are now worried about the Romney campaign’s handling of the Bain Capital issue, which is blossoming into a new and old media press narrative, taking on a life of its own.
Earlier today, the Drudge Report offered another one of its famous original political scoops. Some of Drudges BIG SCOOPS IN HEADLINES have not panned out over the years and, in fact, seem to be political plants by campaigns. Today’s claimed that Condi Rice was high on Romney’s V.P. list — a claim few serious analysts take…seriously.
Conservative talker Mark Levin put it into a larger context about his concern about Romney’s campaign in general:
MARK LEVIN: I’ve been thinking during the break because this story broke on my watch — can you imagine? This is actually bad politics not only will Romney be defending Bain right up through the election now he’s going have to be defending Bush and Bush’s policies right up through the election. This is a bad idea. No offense, Condi Rice.
Didn’t they say throughout the Republican primary we had a nominee Romney because he’s the only one who could win? Why am I the only one remembers that?
And these polls, don’t they make you nervous right now? The economy’s on its back. Romney’s running against a true loser who has nothing to offer the country, literally nothing. So he’s a propagandist. So far the Romney team has not been able to cut through it and then you get this John Sununu — who gave us Souter for all those years — walking around like he some kind of smart uncle telling us they are husbanding their resources are just waiting for the right time to unleash on Obama.
Obama’s spending the summer trying to define Romney, successful or not, and Romney’s not spending the summer trying to define Obama, which he must do. So here we are debating Bain capital. And then we’ll be debating RomneyCare. And if he does pick Rice, then will be debating the entire George W. Bush record which is exactly what the Bush people want. Well it’s not what I want.
As usual with polls, the poll is not as important as the average of polls at a given moment. Pollster now finds Obama flat — and Romney on the descent:
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.