What aspect of Barack Obama’s campaign has been the linchpin of his attempt to woo voters away from Mitt Romney? The likeability edge. For months, pundits surmised that Obama’s likeability ratings, which were always high, gave him a commanding lead over the seemingly aloof, distant Romney.
Not any more. In an astonishing confession, the Obama sycophants at Politico have acknowledged that in their new Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll, Romney’s likeability numbers match Obama’s. Whereas in September Romney was viewed unfavorably by 49% of voters, those numbers have dwindled to 44%. Now 51% of voters like him personally, while 44% do not, a seven-point bulge. Obama’s favorable percentage is 53% and unfavorable is 45%, an eight-point difference.
These numbers have to be a huge disappointment for the Obama campaign; they have spent millions of dollars to paint Romney as an unlikeable man, while Romney’s attacks have focused on Obama’s failed policies rather than the man himself. Obama’s super PAC Priorities USA even insinuated that Romney was a murderer.
But the first presidential debate marked a sea change in the way Americans viewed Romney. As Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group, who helped conduct the bipartisan poll, said:
“For the first time, those things that Obama had been saying were called to task. All those millions of dollars in efforts to demonize Mitt Romney disappeared overnight. That’s the impact of the debate.”
Politico still tried to spin the news, however. Noting that Romney has a big lead among independents, Politico blathered:
“… the president is edging Romney in the head-to-head ballot because of heavy Latino backing and essentially monolithic African-American support.”
First of all, Obama is behind in the head to head polls, and second of all, Obama had monolithic support from the black community in 2008. And as ABC News pointed out today:
a new Florida International University/Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald (FIU) poll of likely Florida Latino voters shows Obama leading Romney 51-44 percent. But the margin is smaller than the one Obama had in 2008.
a Mason-Dixon poll conducted for Tampa Bay Times/9 News/Miami Herald late last week showed Romney actually leading among Latinos 46-44 percent.
And nationally, Obama is slipping with Latino voters since the debate with Romney:
According to the latest Latino Decisions poll, President Obama is currently leading Romney by a 67-23 percent margin. The 44-point lead, while substantial, is down slightly from last week and is the first-time Obama has polled below 70 percent among Latino voters since the end of September.
Perhaps more troubling for the supporters of the president; the number of Latino voters who described themselves as “very enthusiastic” or “somewhat enthusiastic” dropped from 93 percent two weeks ago, to 81 percent in the current poll.
Obama’s lead has vanished, and the fact that the electorate got a closer look at Romney during the debate and liked what they saw may be the death knell of Obama’s campaign.