Insiders: Obama More Likely to Win
Expectations that Mitt Romney will be able to defeat President Obama in November have slid down significantly over the last four months, according to National Journal's latest Insider's poll.
Insiders of both parties gave the president a moderate to high chance of winning his bid for re-election. When asked to rate his prospects on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no chance and 10 being virtual certainty, Democrats gave Obama an average score of 7.7, a 0.6-point increase from when the question was last asked in late April. Republicans meanwhile gave their opponent a 5.8, representing a 0.9-point uptick.
The results are no doubt a reflection of a rough start to the general election for the Romney campaign, between a national convention that produced no significant polling bounce, the candidate's controversial statement on the U.S. embassy attack in Libya as well as leaked video of a Romney fundraiser where he dismissed the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income tax as government-dependent freeloaders.
Insiders of both parties largely agreed that Obama's chances were bolstered not by his own doing but by a weak challenger.
On a scale of one (no chance) to 10 (virtual certainty), how likely is it that President Obama will win reelection?
"Unemployment at 8 percent, unrest in the Middle East, economy growing very slowly, yet [Obama]'s still beating Romney, who may be the most uninspiring candidate to ever run for the presidency," one Democratic insider said.
"Thank goodness for Obama's secret weapon as revealed on SNL: Mitt Romney," another added.
Also unhelpful: Romney's team and their chosen strategy, many said.
"Romney appears to be on worse track than economy," one Republican said.
"Romney still not closing the sale. Boston is not using one-third of the arguments and research available to blitz the Dems," another assessed, but added a silver lining: "But Obama is still below 50 percent, and the economy still sucks."
A Democrat noted, "It's tough to win when your strategy is shooting yourself in the face every day, which is about the only thing the Romney campaign can do consistently."
Others attributed Obama's edge to the inherent challenges of beating an incumbent. "It is very hard to beat an incumbent president, even one who doesn't deserve reelection," a Republican said.
Nevertheless, several insiders also said that it was too early to call the race for anybody, particularly with three presidential debates left on the general election calendar, trouble brewing in the Middle East and the economy still struggling to recover.
"This is still closer than people think and money does work," one Democrat said, alluding to Romney's formidable fundraising advantage, aided by GOP-allied super PAC money.
"Romney remains competitive virtually everywhere he needs to win, despite weeks of feckless campaigning," another Republican added. "This means that voters are cringing at the idea of four more years of Obama."