As Katie notes below, two new polls contain exceedingly worrisome news for Team Obama. The first survey shows that voters are now assigning significantly more economic blame to President Obama (34 percent) than to President Bush (18 percent). Congress -- control of which is split -- and Wall Street also shoulder some blame, at 23 and 20 percent, respectively. Most troubling for Obama is Americans' general assessment of his economic policies:
The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. Forty-two percent said he has taken the right actions to revive the economy, while six percent said they were not sure. While 64 percent of voters consider this downturn to be “much more severe” than previous contractions, barely one quarter (26 percent) say the agonizingly slow pace of the recovery was unavoidable.
In other words, twice as many people believe Obama has impeded our recovery than say its historically sluggish pace was inevitable. The silver lining for Obama is that many voters also express discontent with Congressional Republicans on these matters, but as the "blame" numbers indicate, the buck is finally beginning to stop on the president's desk. The other bombshell poll comes from USA Today/Gallup. It shows conclusively that Obama's scorched-earth and factually inaccurate campaign of vilifying Romney's leadership at Bain Capital has been a flop of epic proportions (bear in mind that this is a survey of adults; not likely, or even registered, voters):
By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney's background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation's economic problems over the next four years. The findings raise questions about Obama's strategy of targeting Bain's record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.
Indeed, this data certainly does "raise questions" about Obama's slash-and-burn strategy, to put it very kindly. Team Obama has spent $100 million on television ads in recent months (76 percent negative), hoping to exploit their closing window of advantage when it comes to primary cash on hand. They've dipped into the red for two consecutive months in order to maintain this huge spending edge. In the process, they've outspent Romney 3-to-1 on swing state ads. Why? They are determined to define Mitt Romney is a secretive, dishonest, greedy, outsourcing vulture capitalist. The NYT/CBS News poll last week indicated that Obama's standing on both job approval and favorability have actually eroded over this period, despite (or perhaps because of) the relentless, inaccurate attacks. Today's poll shows another disastrous return on investment for Chicago. After tens of millions in ads firing directly at Romney's business background and wealth, Americans view Romney's resume as a positive by a two-to-one 34-point margin. And there's this:
The Democratic attacks on Romney seem to have had limited effect on voters' assessments of him. In February, 53% said the former Massachusetts governor had the personality and leadership qualities a president should have; now 54% do.
The public's estimation of Romney's "personality and leadership qualities" has gone up as he's been pounded mercilessly by Obama's attacks. Obama supporters will hang their hats on findings that Obama still bests his opponent on likeability and empathy questions, but I suspect they're not going to like too much else. Efficiency, enthusiasm, role of government -- bing, bang, boom:
Romney has the edge when it come to being able to "get things done," and the broad landscape seems tilted in his favor: Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much more enthusiastic about the election, an important factor in persuading supporters to vote. By 18 points, 51%-33%, they report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting. In contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by four points say they are less enthusiastic than usual, 43%-39%. A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That's the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.
Why, I think Mitt Romney has a point to make on that bolded sentence. And last but certainly not least, voila:
Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs...
Romney holds "significant advantages" on the economy and job creation? But I thought he was a heartless outsourcing jobs killer! Oops. Gallup hasn't released the specific head-to-head numbers yet (I'm told they're coming soon), so we'll keep you posted. I'll leave you with one last scrumptious data point, this time from Rasmussen:
Seventy-two percent (72%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe that people who start small businesses are primarily responsible for their success or failure. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 13% disagree.
Americans to Obama: Actually, yes, we did build that.
UPDATE - Video added on why Democrats are starting to feel the fundraising heat: