The Obama-supporting media is seizing on new polling data to advance the meme that clouds of doom are gathering above Romney headquarters in Boston. A senior-level Romney adviser totally rejects the premise in an email to National Review editor in chief Rich Lowry (emphasis mine):
It’s horses**t. Nobody in Boston thinks we’re going to lose. We’re in a tight race. We had a 4-5 point bounce after our convention and it evaporated when they had theirs. Now they have a 4-5 bounce. It’s going to evaporate in September. We feel good about the map. We’re up with advertising in Wisconsin and I think North Carolina is going to come off the board. On Ohio, they’ve been spinning for months now that it’s out of reach. There was a Columbus Post-Dispatch poll last week that had it 45-45. That’s a more accurate picture of the state of the play there than any of the spin. PPP has these polls that just put chum in the water for the media. Sometimes I think there’s a conscious effort between the media and Chicago to get Republicans depressed. And I hope our friends realize that all these media analysts out there are Democrats WHO WANT US TO LOSE.
And the more Washington DC controls our economy, the more important inside-the-beltway publications are and the more money they make. The 202 area code is dominated by people who will make more money if Obama is reelected, so it’s not just an ideological thumb they’re putting on the scale for him, it’s a business interest. I actually think the other side is in a panic. You look at New Mexico closing up. And they’re not above 50 in any of their target states. Look, we’re raising money, they’re raising money, and it’s tight. This is a dogfight. But the numbers actually point to a romney win barring something unforeseen.
In fairness, the only poll that showed that large of a Romney post-convention bounce was Rasmussen. Other surveys indicated the GOP ticket's boost was far more muted, if it materialized at all. On the other hand, things have tightened to mid-single digits in New Mexico, New Jersey and Connecticut -- all states that Obama carried handily (15, 15, and 23 points, respectively) in 2008. I've also heard rumblings about Team Obama abandoning North Carolina at some point. New PPP numbers show the race tied there, but only if Democratic turnout exceeds 2008 levels by three full percentage points. Not bloody likely. Obama barely won the Tar Heel State last cycle, edging John McCain by a few thousand votes. Other pollsters show Romney ahead in North Carolina. As I posited in my previous post, the real question is whether Obama's current lead will, in fact, "evaporate" over the next few weeks, or if he's put some lasting distance between himself and his challenger. These trends do not compute with some commentators' new "Obama inevitability" declarations. Based on my reading of the state of play, I agree with this top Romney source that things remain essentially even on a macro level. "It's tight" sounds about right. But I'm not sure where this person makes the jump to "the numbers actually point to a Romney win barring something unforeseen." Sure, this race is winnable for Romney, but I fail to see how anyone can claim the current data suggests he's winning right now. I'd say he's tied at best. Then again, I don't have access to the campaign's daily and detailed internal polling and turnout models. I'll leave you with this line from an email I received this afternoon from another Romney campaign aide: "This thing is just starting...and unlike '08, this campaign is unafraid to take it directly to President Obama. And we have the resources to do so."
UPDATE - Notice how the partisan PPP Ohio poll is getting tons of attention today, whereas a poll out late last week showing Romney ahead by three points in Buckeyeland got virtually no play in the media. I accidentally stumbled upon it today -- otherwise, I would have never seen it.
UPDATE II - I largely agree with Erick Erickson's take on all of this -- especially his point about the media obsessing over polling to avoid talking about the economy. These numbers all more important than an early September polling snapshot, even if that snapshot is disconcerting.