President Obama told supporters at a campaign event in New York City Monday night that, if the election were held today, he would win. "So the upshot is if the election were held today, I think it would be close, but I think we'd win," Obama said. Noting that there were 99 days left until the election, Obama added: "If I can say that every single day for the next 99 days, then we will be able to embark on the next phase of this journey." Most experts agree that the race for the presidency is close between Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and most also agree that it is too soon to make predictions based on polling, since those numbers could change. Nonetheless, as reported by The Hill, and according to polling averages taken by the New York Times, the president is ahead in 10 of the 12 so-called battleground states. If those polls were borne out on Election Day, Obama would win.
The flip side of this equation, of course, is that fully 98 days remain until November 6th (although as George Will notes, some swing state voting begins before the first presidential debate, which is insane). Between now and then, most voters will snap out of their electoral slumber and start paying attention. Both parties will hold nominating conventions. Mitt Romney will finally be able to tap into his overflowing general election war chest and begin to neutralize Obama's huge battleground state spending advantage. And the GOP candidate will also have the opportunity to do what millions of dollars' worth of false Democratic attacks have largely failed to accomplish: Define Mitt Romney in voters' minds. Polling from The Hill, Gallup and NYT/CBS indicates that the former CEO, Olympic Chairman and Massachusetts Governor has a genuine opportunity to introduce himself to voters, many of whom are growing increasingly sour on the direction of the country under President Obama. RealClearPolitics' Sean Trende recommended that Romney complement his "contrast" campaign (attack ads) with positive material, offering potential supporters more insight into the man they'd be voting for, rather than criticizing the incumbent they may vote against. This week, Republicans have begun to do exactly that. On top of the presumptive nominee's overseas trip, a pro-Romney SuperPAC has begun running a superb new Olympics-themed ad, and the Romney campaign itself released a compelling and upbeat spot outlining Romney's leadership resume. Dan wrote up the minute-long clip earlier, but it's worth showcasing again:
In essence, meet Mitt Romney: The outstanding businessman (I love the "sterling" quote from Clinton), the Olympics turnaround artist, and the budget-balancing governor. If these messages begin to resonate -- especially as campaign spending levels off, and major economic indicators continue to look weak -- Obama supporters may very well look back and wish the election had been held in late July.