All the usual May polling caveats apply, obviously -- but my oh my, there are some eye-opening numbers in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The topline number shows Romney leading The One 46-43 among registered voters (a very low number for an incumbent), but the internals hold even better morsels:
A few notes:
(1) Romney leads among women by two points. This is a dramatic turnaround from even a few weeks ago, when the Left was singing the dopey "war on women" refrain from every rooftop. I guess it didn't really stick. Think Progress' Judd Legum tweeted that if Romney wins women in the fall, his margin of victory overall will be impressive. Indeed. Score one for stay-at-home moms, at least for the moment.
(2) Indies side with Romney by seven points, and Romney is picking off more Democrats than Obama is Republicans. Perhaps the Obamacons who were bamboozled in 2008 aren't feeling especially forgiving this time 'round. Incidentally, who are those ten percent of Democrats who back Romney? Probably folks from places like West Virginia, and other members of Hillary's base last cycle.
(3) This is a poll of registered, not likely, voters -- which means that Romney's edge is probably heftier within the latter pool. Republicans typically fare better among likely voters.
(4) The sample for this poll is D+6. The 2008 partisan turnout breakdown was D+7 (37/32), so the NYT/CBS model predicts that the 2012 will be roughly the same as it was four years ago. Color me skeptical; the last presidential election was a perfect storm of awful for the GOP. In the 2010 midterms, the partisan split was exactly even (35/35). I think it's fair to say that a more realistic sample breakdown would tack a few points onto Romney's lead.
(5) The president's decision to publicly support same-sex marriage looks like it's a small, but immediate, drag on his re-election chances. This issue may fade before the fall, but at the moment, Obama's "evolution" is hurting him. One in four voters report that Obama's call makes them less likely to support him in November, and only 38 percent support gay marriage overall. (Support for at least civil unions is significantly broader). Perhaps most damaging for Obama on this item is the cynicism with which people view his motives for changing his views. Yowza:
(6) O's favorability/unfavorablility ratings are now even at 45 apiece, whereas Romney is still a relatively unknown commodity. He's at 31/38 on the same question, with many voters still trying to take a measure of the man. That's why the two campaigns are fighting ferociously to define who Mitt Romney is, even six months outside of the general.
(7) Oh, and there's this:
Two-thirds of the country believes the economy is in "fairly" or "very" bad shape. It's the economy, stupid. Obama, meanwhile, appears to be reeling a little bit. He's out there playing the idiotic "McCain was so much more reasonable than this right-wing monster called Mitt Romney" game, which is good for a laugh or two. What he means, I think, is that McCain was far more willing to roll over in the name of "honor," whereas Team Romney is almost as ruthless as Obama's Chicago crew. They're certainly more engaged in rapid response. In addition to yesterday's strong counterpunch on the Bain stuff, the Romney camp has also launched a new micro Tumblr, packed with information about this specific controversy. The site was live less than one full news cycle after Obama's perfidious ad was introduced. Pretty impressive. And since everyone's scrambling to define Romney, allow me to pass this along:
One cold December day in the early 1980s, Mitt Romney loaded up his Gran Torino with firewood and brought it to the home of a single mother whose heat had been shut off just days before Christmas. Years after a business partner died unexpectedly, Romney helped the man’s surviving daughter go to medical school with loans for tuition — loans he forgave when she graduated. And in 1997, when a fellow church member’s teenage son fell seriously ill, Romney sprinted to the hospital in the dead of night, where he kept vigil with his terrified parents. Stories like these — tales of long hours spent with grieving families, financial assistance to those in need and timely help given to strangers whether asked for or not — abound in the adult life of the Republican presidential candidate. Many of them, though not all, are connected to his work as a Mormon bishop. And yet these stories are largely absent on the campaign trail.
But...he's a dog-hating, anti-women, vampire capitalist bully!
UPDATE - A good point by an emailer: Even though these polls will bounce around for the next few months, results like this are still gratifying within the context of the Obama campaign's grating arrogance and cockiness.
(h/t to Allahpundit for several of the graphics above)