Politics: Dems begin convention under new cloud of bad polls

Published by: Robert Laurie on Tuesday September 4th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE – As the gavel falls in Charlotte, Democrats have new numbers to worry about

This weekend, TheHill.com conducted a poll of 1,000 likely voters.  The questions were designed to get into the nitty-gritty of right track / wrong track data, and hoped to gauge voter opinion on the “better off than four years ago” question. The results should be extremely troubling for Democrats.

As the gavel opens their convention, Dems will be faced with the ugly notion that 52% of respondents say the country is worse off than four years ago, while 54% say Obama does not deserve a second term.  Only a meager 31% say there has been any improvement since the President took office.

In addition, the poll found that 50% of voters were “very unsatisfied” with how Obama has handled economic matters, and by a three point margin, likely voters expect Romney to win on November 6.

The most damaging number may come from self-described independents, 61% of whom say Obama is unworthy of re-election.

These numbers come on the heels of two other weekend polls, conducted by Rasmussen and Gallup, which found Obama trailing by 4 and 2 points respectively.  Some people have chalked this up to a bounce from the Republican convention, but Democrats have argued that Romney received no such boost.  If that’s the case, the data would suggest that the pre-RNC trend, which saw momentum shifting in Romney’s direction, has continued.

Over the weekend, the Democrat spin machine was in high gear.  President Obama’s surrogates appeared everywhere, claiming that Romney’s campaign was flagging.  They argued that Obama was leading nationally by a close, but sustainable, margin and that Romney was looking at a problematic deficit in the swing states.  Taken at face value, it sounds like a Romney win would be nigh-on impossible.

However, looking at this week’s election map, you can draw a much rosier picture.  If you add all the states where Romney holds a commanding lead to the states where he’s losing by less than two points, he totals 307 electoral votes. 

Two points is almost always within a poll’s margin of error.  Voter enthusiasm and turnout are both expected to greatly favor the GOP. Add to that the current momentum enjoyed by the Romney camp and it’s clear that Obama’s lead – if it truly exists at all - is nowhere near insurmountable.

This week’s ugly numbers put a spotlight on just how much pressure is building around the Democrat’s week long party.  If their Convention can’t supply a substantial bounce, or if they go so negative that it turns voters off, they could be in a world of hurt heading into the home stretch.

Taking into account Friday's dismal jobs report, and the fact that the national debt will top $16 trillion sometime around midnight tonight, it would seem they have their work cut out for them.