Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tonic for Democrats: Romney and Ohio

The new NBC/Marist/WSJ polls are out for Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. In Florida, Obama is up 1. In Virginia, Romney is up 1. But Ohio. Oh, Ohio.

Obama leads Romney by 6 in Ohio. That is just a terrible, terrible number for Romney. And there's actually quite a bit more good news below the top line for the President. First, Romney has gained 2 points since last week's NBC/Marist/WSJ poll. That's it ... at least in Ohio. The debate bounce is not getting worse. It just is what it is at this point. And if it is 2 points, that's not changing the fundamental trajectory of the campaign.

Second, 40 percent in the poll described themselves as Democrats and 29 described themselves as Republicans. Now lots of Republicans might cry foul and say there's no way there's an 11-point party ID edge for Obama in Ohio. But that argument doesn't work any more than the Democratic complaints about the national Pew poll worked a few days ago. As I said this morning, party ID is a fluid thing and is more a reflection of where the electorate is than pollster hijinks. But, in Ohio, there's something else interesting driving those numbers. 18 percent of respondents said they have already voted and 63 percent of these voters said they voted for Obama. This has been a big part of the Obama campaign's efforts in the state and this poll suggests it may be pulling the party ID of the electorate in their direction.

But wait, there's more bad news for Romney. Among those who have not yet voted but were identified as likely voters, Obama still leads by 2, 48-46.

Want more bad news for Romney? His favorable/unfavorable is still under water in Ohio (44/50).

I continue to believe that Romney is hitting his electoral ceiling in this post-debate period. And, if his electoral ceiling is a 6-point deficit in Ohio (not to mention a 1-point deficit in Florida), I don't see him winning.

I hope Biden does well Thursday night and changes the story. And I hope the President performs better in the next two debates and this thing goes back to where it was before the first debate. But I also think the President would win Ohio if the election were today. And I still don't see Romney's path to victory without Ohio.

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