Obama's up by seven in Ohio, and five in Virginia and Florida -- all bigger margins than the Hopenchange sweep of 2008 -- so all is lost, Republicans. Do yourselves a favor and pack it in now. Not so fast, cautions Allahpundit:
The Democratic turnout advantage in this model would be only a point less in Virginia and Florida than it was at the apex of Hopenchange in 2008, and in Ohio it would actually be two points greater. That’s not happening in November, but O’s lead in each state is wide enough here that I think he probably is ahead — narrowly. According to RCP’s averages, in fact, he’s up by just 1.3 points in Florida and 0.4 points in Virginia, and those numbers incorporate his gaudy leads in this WSJ/NBC poll. Even more reason not to panic: This poll was conducted from Sept. 9-11, when Obama still had a bit of a convention bounce. That bounce now appears to be gone; Ramussen’s daily tracker actually has Romney back in the lead today nationally.
I'll go a step further. Is Romney down by seven in Ohio as the NBC/WSJ poll says, or is he down by a single point, which two new polls show? Or is he actually up three, as a poll taken last week indicated? And is the Republican ticket trailing by five (NBC) or four (Survey USA) or two (Rasmussen) points in Florida, or are they ahead by three (McLaughlin)? What about Virginia? Lagging five points behind, or in the lead by the exact same margin? In New Hampshire, Obama's sitting at just 45 percent -- yet still leading Romney by five, but among the most highly motivated (read: ultra-likely) voters, the numbers swing nine points to Romney's advantage. And as Dan wrote yesterday, Obama's convention bounce has disappeared in the Rasmussen national tracker, with voters siding with Mitt on the economy by seven points.
What's my point? That Romney's really winning? No. I'd bet he's roughly tied in Florida and Virginia, and down a few points in Ohio -- a tough state that he simply must have. I'd also guess that the national race is a virtual dead heat, with Obama a shade ahead right now. What no one knows is what electorate will show up in November 6th. And there are several political eternities between then and now. The media will focus on good polls for Obama (did anyone hear about the Romney up three in Ohio poll last week?) and write stories quoting anonymous Republicans "privately fretting" that Romney's doomed. Romney could very well lose this election, but that outcome is far from decided. As the election draws closer, Democrats and their buddies in the press will consciously and subconsciously try to discourage Republicans and Republican leaners. A sense of despair doesn't get people to the polls, which is exactly the point. It's important for Romney supporters to remain clear-eyed and not delude themselves into believing that their candidate is somehow magically in the lead -- but also to resist the intentionally manipulative "you've already lost" drumbeat from the Left. Things looked bleak for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George W. Bush in 2000 at this stage, and we remember how those races turned out. On the flip side, other campaigns just floated straight through into November with little change. The question is, will Romney ever manage to build serious momentum?
UPDATE - Today, Rasmussen boosts Romney's national lead to three points, while the new NYT/CBS poll shows Obama ahead by the same margin. In the latter poll, Romney's ahead among independents by double digits and Republicans have an enthusiasm advantage. Hmmm.