Statewide polling since June has shown Obama with majority disapproval in Florida (43 percent approves; 53 percent disapproves) and in Ohio (44-52). That supports the view that his chances are tenuous in those states.
But unfortunately for these strategists, recent polls don't show Obama doing much better in Virginia (45-50), North Carolina (45-51) or Colorado (46-50). The Obamaites point to Sen. Michael Bennet's 2010 victory in Colorado as a model to follow. But Bennet won by only 48 to 46 percent, and the Democratic governor won with just 51 percent against split opposition. And Republicans carried the state's popular vote for the House.
There's also an enormous gulf between the so-called Colorado strategy and Obama's stance on issues. It's not clear that lambasting Republicans for not raising taxes on millionaires and corporate jets is going to win votes or rally the enthusiasm of currently disappointed college-educated and young voters.
They may actually have looked past the campaign rally cries of "pass this bill" to notice that it doesn't have 50 votes in the Democratic-majority Senate and indeed has hardly any Democratic co-sponsors. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been employing parliamentary legerdemain to prevent a vote on Obama's bill.
It's not so clear, either, that bashing millionaires and corporate jets is going to rekindle the enthusiasm of young voters and Latinos discouraged after months of joblessness. They may remember that spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the 2009 stimulus package didn't do much good.
At the moment, the only states where polls since June show Obama with job approval as high as 50 or 51 percent are those where he got 60-plus percent in 2008, plus New Jersey, where he got 57 percent.
Those are enough to get him up to 200 electoral votes, 70 short of a majority.
But they're not enough to reassemble the 53 percent coalition that hoped he would bring change for the better. That coalition, historically unusual, seems now to be part of history itself.