And so the polling see-saw continues: two new Bloomberg polls should cheer President Barack Obama and the Democrats (but not enough to get confident):
*Obama seems to be winning the War of the Out of Touchers. He’s ahead in a poll and voters consider Romney more out of touch.
Barack Obama has opened a significant lead over Mitt Romney in a Bloomberg National
Poll that reflects the presumed Republican nominee’s weaknesses more than the president’s strengths.
Obama leads Romney 53 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, even as the public gives him low marks on handling the economy and the deficit, and six in 10 say the nation is headed down the wrong track, according to the poll conducted June 15- 18.
The survey shows Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has yet to repair the damage done to his image during the Republican primary. Thirty-nine percent of Americans view him favorably, about the same as when he announced his presidential candidacy last June, while 48 percent see him unfavorably — a 17-percentage point jump during a nomination fight dominated by attacks ads. A majority of likely voters, 55 percent, view him as more out of touch with average Americans compared with 36 percent who say the president is more out of touch.
I guess that means Sean Hannity has some more work to do. But he or she who tries to read the outcome in these polls may eat a plate of crow on election day:
Taken together, the results suggest an unsettled political environment for both
Obama and Romney five months from the November election, with voters choosing for now to stick with a president they say is flawed rather than backing a challenger they regard as undefined and disconnected.
“You can see in these data how important turnout will be,” says J. Ann Selzer of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. who directed the poll. “Those most enthusiastic about the election are more supportive of Romney, but Obama’s voters are more locked into their candidate than Romney’s. Building resolve to vote and making the vote stick is job one, and both candidates face obstacles toward getting that done.”
The presidential race is roughly tied among the most enthusiastic voters, 49 percent of whom back Romney compared with 48 percent for Obama. Still, Romney inspires far less enthusiasm even among his supporters than does Obama, with 35 percent of Romney backers saying their support for him is “very strong,” compared with 51 percent of Obama backers who say so
Romney’s dilemma is that he’s trying to fire up conservatives which could chase away groups that might be somewhat important to him — such as independent voters.
Meanwhile, a second poll finds that more people feel they are better off then they were when George Bush was in office:
A plurality of Americans now say they are better off than they were when President Barack Obama was inaugurated, providing a surprising lift to Obama’s re- election campaign despite troublesome economic news.
Forty-five percent of those surveyed in a Bloomberg National Poll say they are better off than at the beginning of 2009 compared with 36 percent who say they are worse off. In March, poll respondents split almost evenly on that question after having been decidedly negative since the aftermath of the worst recession in seven decades.
“I’m just tired of the doom and gloom,” says Jim Seeley, 52, a mortgage banker in Traverse City, Michigan, and a poll respondent, in a follow-up interview. “I think it’s looking better. People just need to stay positive.”
The poll, conducted June 15-18, contains more unlikely cheer for the president, with larger numbers of respondents saying their household income is higher than a year ago. While 44 percent say they are treading water, the better off outnumbered the worse off by 28 percent to 22 percent.
The share saying they are making substantial purchases they had been delaying, dining out more often, or taking deferred vacations all rose compared with March 2011. Seeley and his wife are among them. Earlier this year, the couple went on a seven- day cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, joining 27 percent of respondents who say they are taking postponed trips compared with 20 percent in March 2011.
The poll of 1,002 U.S. adults was conducted for Bloomberg News by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
The poll’s findings of respondents’ brightening assessments of how they’re doing are at odds with recent data.
It’s important to keep in mind that polls are see-saws and the only way to really come close to figuring out what is going on is to look at a lot of polls and average them, which some analysts do. A given poll such as this could be skewered if it favored certain parts of the electorate over another. On the other hand, partisans always try to discredit polls they don’t like by talking about methodology but somehow never question the methodology of polls that put their candidate ahead.
What’s going on? Time’s Mark Halperin looks at this first poll and also at new Obama ads that aggressively go after Romney and stress that he’s a millionaire, and he writes:
Some critics score Chicago for over-focus grouping everything and for running against Bain and Massachusetts when the Amtrak Corridor experts believe those themes have been played out. As in 2008, the Obamans don’t care what the Corridor thinks. And they are still guided by two-part thinking: the incumbent can’t win unless he eliminates Romney as an acceptable choice — and Romney CAN be eliminated (with efforts like these new ads).
If the Bloomberg poll is even close to accurate, with the President above 50 and with a big lead, it might be time to stop raising questions about the White House’s strategy — and about Obama’s chances.
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.