GOP Insiders More Confident Than Ever of Romney Win
Republicans have never been more confident that President Obama will lose re-election, according to the latest National Journal Insiders Poll, but Democratic conviction their party's leader will earn a second term still hasn't wavered.
On average, GOP insiders polled by National Journal gave Obama slightly less than even odds he'll occupy the White House another four years. The 4.6 average score - based on a 1 (no chance at re-election) to 10 (virtual certainty) scale -- was a precipitous drop since the last Insiders Poll, a late September survey in which Republicans pegged the score at 5.8. That poll was taken before the first presidential debate in early October, after which Mitt Romney's support surged. In April, Republican Insiders rated Obama at exactly even odds.
Democratic optimism in the last month has also dipped, although the change has been far less significant than the GOP's. They gauged Obama's chances at 7.2, down one-half from last month but still higher than their expectation in April.
A majority of Republicans, 76 percent, say Obama has a moderate chance of re-election (a score between four and six). Seventy-four percent of Democrats say he has a strong chance (a score between seven and 10).
On a scale of zero (no chance) to 10 (virtual certainty), how likely is it that President Obama will win reelection?
|Slight chance (1-3)||1%||17%|
|Moderate chance (4-6)||26%||76%|
|Strong chance (7-10)||74%||6%|
On aggregate, the combined score of Insiders from both parties gives the president slightly less than a 60 percent chance at reaching 270 electoral votes.
A fierce debate over which campaign has momentum, if there's any at all, has consumed the presidential race of late. But many of National Journal's GOP Insiders are convinced the trend favors Romney and will propel him to victory.
"This is the first time that I really feel the momentum swinging to Romney," said one Republican. "It has been a slow progression for the Republican since early September, but it is steady and no matter what Obama throws at him, it doesn't hurt."
Said another Republican, "The trend is definitely in favor of Romney -- with independents leading the way."
Romney has stirred hope among Republicans that he's expanded the number of battlegrounds in which he's competing with the president, placing ad buys in once safely blue states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Democrats have called the move a bluff -- public polling indicates Obama does carry at least a small lead in each of the trio.
"Obama's held on to his defensive perimeter longer than anyone expected, but he's also left his flanks exposed in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota," one GOP Insiders said.
National polls depict the race as a dead heat, with many even giving the GOP presidential nominee a slight edge. But battleground-state polling is more favorable for the president.
"Romney has not gained ground in the key battleground states," said a Democratic Insider. "It is hard to see him winning Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Ohio, and it looks like he needs all of them."
Said another, "I was a 9 before the debates -- Romney has momentum but still has a difficult electoral map."
One more Democrat chimed in: "It's all about the swing states. Every national poll that's reported is increasingly irrelevant as the President leads in Ohio, Wisconsin, and others."