The Romney campaign is on the ropes, taking blows, and looking like it is ready to take a knee. All across the political spectrum there are indications that Romney is in trouble.
A CNN poll released Monday showed Obama moving into a small lead among men, besting Romney 48% to 47. The finding was especially notable because CNN, in a poll conducted about a week prior, had shown Romney holding a 12-point lead among men (55% to 43).
On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found Obama enjoying a 3-point edge among men. In a memo accompanying the poll’s release, its authors, Langer Research Associates, noted that “Obama’s support has reached a new high among men” — higher than at any point during this election cycle.
In addition, a new poll from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling organization found that Obama has a 1-point lead among men, taking 47% to Romney’s 46.
If there was one demographic that the Romney camp felt it could count on it is men. Dan Judy, a vice president at North Star Opinion Research, a GOP firm said “Men, and especially white men, are a core constituency for Republicans, especially in swing states. Romney’s got to run up big, big margins with them.”
Republican lawmakers have expressed concern that Romney may not have the ability to win other demographics aside from white men. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said “if I were Romney I’d be nervous about demographics,” Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) expressed frustration that Romney wasn’t doing better communicating with female and Hispanic voters. “That’s why I encourage them on issues concerning women and Hispanics,” she said.
Romney needs to win more than two-thirds of the electoral votes up for grabs to become president, and he narrowly trails Obama in some key swing states that have fast-growing Latino populations like Florida and Virginia, as well as Nevada and Colorado.
Republican lawmakers are worried about Romney’s standing in swing-state polls, which show President Obama leading in a majority of the states that will decide the election. Polls show few undecided voters remaining, which means Romney will have to win a big chunk of them to carry enough swing states for a victory. The most crucial for him are Florida, Ohio, and Virginia where he is currently trailing Obama in the polls.
Polls are not the only indication that the Romney campaign is struggling. Conservative pundits are growing increasingly concerned that the campaign reluctance to release any detail is hurting its chances. Romney's campaign is "too intent on winning over the small batch of uncommitted and independent voters by saying absolutely nothing that might possibly offend them," John Podhoretz, a conservative columnist and former presidential speech writer for Ronald Reagan, wrote in the New York Post. "The problem with that strategy is a) it means he doesn't say much, and b) it does nothing to stimulate the enthusiasm of those already in his corner."
"Mr. Romney's pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies," said an editorial published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, which often is a barometer of the thinking of leading conservatives.
The Romney campaign took heavy criticism for its reluctance to release any detail during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press. On the program Romney struggled to explain what income tax loopholes he might close to help offset the cost of his tax cuts, or whether he would keep portions of Obama's health care overhaul, including a requirement of insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Conservative pundits are showing a great deal of pessimism over the Romney campaign. Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said, "If you can't beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people.”
William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said that Romney could be setting a course to lose the election. "When a challenger merely appeals to disappointment with the incumbent and tries to reassure voters he's not too bad an alternative," Kristol wrote, "that isn't generally a formula for victory."
George Will said on Sunday's This Week, "If the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business."
The Romney campaign is struggling, so says the polls, Republican lawmakers and conservative pundits. The only hope for the campaign is a catastrophic labor report in September and October, and/or a knockout performance in the upcoming debates. Neither seems likely, and more than likely on Nov. 6, Romney will be counted down and out.