Celebrate good times, liberals -- President Obama has again vaulted ahead of Mitt Romney in a national poll:
After months of aggressive campaigning on jobs and the economy, President Obama and Mitt Romney, his likely Republican challenger, are locked in a dead heat over who could fix the problem foremost on voters’ minds, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The parity on economic issues foreshadows what probably will continue to be a tough and negative campaign. Overall, voters would be split 49 percent for Obama and 46 percent for Romney if the November election were held now. On handling the economy, they are tied at 47 percent.
Despite flare-ups over issues including contraception and same-sex marriage, more than half of all Americans cite the economy as the one concern that will decide their vote in the fall, relegating others — such as health care, taxes and the federal deficit — to single-digit status. More than eight in 10 Americans still rate the national economy negatively, but there are strains of optimism as it continues to recover from the collapse of 2008. A majority of Americans — 54 percent — say they are more hopeful than anxious about the situation over the next few years, while 58 percent are bullish about their financial prospects.
In this new survey, the president's job approval slipped back underwater (47/49), and his economic marks sank even further (42/55). So how does Obama manage to pull ahead of Romney in the head-to-head match up in light of his eroded standing? He gets by with a little help from his friend -- the WaPo/ABC News pollster. Ed Morrissey blows the lid off of this survey's risible partisan sample:
Today’s D/R/I is 32/22/38, which means this model would only be predictive for a turnout model where only 22% of voters are Republican. Just to remind readers, the 2008 turnout split from exit polls showed a 39/32/29 split, and that was considered a nadir for Republican turnout. In the 2010 midterms, the split was 35/35/30.
Let's see if I understand this correctly. WaPo/ABC News' sample handed Democrats a ten point edge (three points higher than 2008 -- a banner year for Democrats), and projected that Republicans would comprise less than a quarter of the electorate in November...and Romney is still within the margin of error? This outcome has to be disconcerting for the Obama campaign, even as they put on a happy face over the top-line results. It also may be time for the Washington Post and ABC News to start censoring their polling methodology again, because they're embarrassing themselves. As I've written previously, the purpose of polling should be to accurately gauge public opinion; it should not be to manipulate the numbers to manufacture "good" news for your preferred candidate. If the latter goal is the new standard, I'd be happy to roll out another IGB poll* showing Mitt Romney leading Obama by, let's say, 19 points among registered voters. Useless, bias-massaging polls are fun, aren't they? In any case, the Obama campaign's grand scheme to undermine Romney's advantage on the economy is to paint him as a "vampire capitalist" who destroyed businesses for profit. (A top Democrat is now classily using rape imagery to demagogue Bain). This idiotic attack strategy is been rebuffed by an expanding roster of Obama allies, the latest of whom is former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell:
Rendell joined the chorus of criticism of Obama’s attacks on finance, whose leaders have written checks to many members of both parties. “I think they’re very disappointing,” Rendell said of the ads attacking Bain. “I think Bain is fair game, because Romney has made it fair game. But I think how you examine it, the tone, what you say, is important as well.” As for Booker, “I admire him,” Rendell said. “People in politics should tell the truth. He could have qualified it better, he could have framed it better, but if you’re in this business, none of us like negative ads.”
Maybe some Democrats are wary of these economically-illiterate and hypocritical criticisms because they've seen the fresh numbers from Rasmussen:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that Romney’s track record in business is primarily a reason to vote for him. Thirty-three percent (33%) see his business career as chiefly a reason to vote against him ... Fifty-five percent (55%) voters believe venture capital companies are better at creating jobs than government programs are. Only 26% see government programs as better job creators. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. That’s essentially unchanged from January.
Obama has even lost his most devoted center-right sycophant on this issue. If you're still not convinced of O's epic Bain bust, Jennifer Rubin convincingly enumerates the persuasive evidence. I'd posit that it might be time for Team O to go back to the drawing board, but what else do they have? This is their gameplan. Their entire re-election strategy is predicated on fear-mongering about Republican solutions, demonizing Mitt Romney's private sector experience, and pretending that Obama's record isn't a fetid ash heap of broken promises, economic hardship, suffocating debt, and demonstrable failure. That last bit presents impossibly tough sledding, so more unresponsive, mindless campaign babble it is! After all, this campaign "is going to be about" Bain Captial, come hell or high water -- so sayeth The One. Oh goodie.
UPDATE - The latest NBC/WSJ poll has Obama up four over Romney overall, leading among Indies by eight, and even beating Romney with seniors. I'm very skeptical of those last two data points, and Allahpundit notices another odd data point:
Last month’s WSJ poll had it 43D/39R/14I if you included leaners. The new poll: 44D/36R/16I. The spread between Democrats and Republicans has increased by four points since April — and yet O’s lead over Romney has shrunk by two points. Hmmmm.
Hmm, indeed. Sample skews can be magical things, my friends.
*IGB is a polling firm that exists exclusively in this author's mind. Methodology inquiries will be ignored. Thank you.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography