This morning’s Quinnipiac University survey of registered Florida voters shows President Obama coughing up major ground, since the same poll in March, to Mitt Romney among women, men, and independents – a pretty fair swath of the electorate.
Overall, Obama trails Romney in Florida, 47 percent to 41 percent.
But “Florida, Florida, Florida” isn’t as essential as it used to be. In fact, of the five paths the Obama campaign deems likeliest to victory – laid out in December with a memorable profanity from campaign manager Jim Messina – only one includes the Sunshine State.
That’s a recognition that Obama’s performance among aging voters is weak. According to the U.S. Census, Florida had the nation’s fifth-highest median age. And Romney’s already won there once this year; recall that it was his crucial and commanding win there that firewalled him against Newt Gingrich’s surge.
Writing off Florida would be, in many ways, liberating, since its pricey media markets and sui generis politics make it a resource-draining state. But the looming loss of a state the president carried four years ago by three points, after Florida had gone for George W. Bush twice straight, poses longer term, ominous concerns for Democrats.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Romney in Massachusetts: The Lost Years
[Politico, 5/23/12] By choosing to emphasize his business experience running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and Bain Capital over his years as governor of Massachusetts, Romney is shielding himself from attacks on his centrist governing history.
The New, Nasty Obama Campaign
[The Atlantic, 5/23/12] Cory Booker, in his criticism of Obama's attack on Bain, touched on something unspeakable among Democrats: the idea that the slash-and-burn tactics of Obama's reelection campaign mark a definitive departure from the promise to change politics for the better.
Rubio Slams Life in Polarized Senate
[National Journal, 5/23/12] Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had harsh words on Wednesday for the current state of politics, criticizing in particular the very body in which he serves. The Senate, Rubio said, is incapable of passing legislation to solve the nation’s problems.
Romney Addresses Latinos as Campaign Works to Make Grounds with Key Constituency
[Washington Post, 5/23/12] The pressure is on: Romney’s address on Wednesday to the Latino Coalition’s Small Business Summit Luncheon in Washington comes as the polls show the presumptive GOP nominee lagging behind Obama among key Hispanic voters.
Factchecking Crossroads GPS ‘Basketball’ Ad
[Huffington Post, 5/23/12] The newest ad from the Karl Rove-affiliated Crossroads GPS features a mother of two jobless adult children, who says “things changed for the worse” Obama’s election. But Factcheck.org concludes that her situation is unlikely and her facts are not always accurate.
Channeling Reagan, Obama Offers Robust Defense of Foreign Policy
[National Journal, 5/23/12] In remarks reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign almost three decades ago, Obama sought to turn back critics who say that his leadership has been weak on Wednesday with a robust defense of his foreign policy during an address to the graduating class of the Air Force Academy.
Know Your Spox: A Look at the Obama Campaign Staff
[Talking Points Memo, 5/23/12] TPM provides a look into the people who speak for the Obama campaign, profiling Ben LaBolt, David Axelrod, Stephanie Cutter, and Lis Smith. So, now you’ll know a little more about the people flooding the airwaves.
[Time, 5/23/12] Romney pushed back on Obama's Bain attacks in an exclusive interview with Mark Halperin, the senior political analyst for Time, released on Wednesday. During the interview, the presumptive nominee predicted he could drive unemployment down to 6 percent by the end of his first term, adding that he wants Washington to "sit still" during the lame-duck session.
Obama Trails Romney in Florida Poll
[National Journal, 5/23/12] Romney now leads Obama by 6 percenatge points in the race for Florida's 29 electoral votes, a significant reversal from earlier this spring, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released early on Wednesday.
Romney Rocks the Independent Vote
[The Hill, 5/23/12] In 12 of the 14 major surveys over the past two months measuring where independents' support in this election lies, Romney has led Obama on an average of 6.5 percent. Romney's lead can be explained by Obama's disapproval numbers among independents.
Romney’s Boldest Education Idea Would Never Become Reality
[National Journal, 5/23/12] Romney’s speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday was intended to clarify his stance on education, as National Journal’s Fawn Johnson writes—but it didn’t. Romney’s boldest idea—requiring states to let low-income and special-needs students enroll at any school throughout an entire state—has no chance of becoming reality.
Romney Oil Adviser Also a Big Super PAC Donor
[Associated Press, 5/23/12] Harold Hamm, owner of Continental Resources, became one of Romney's top energy advisers in March, and soon after, donated nearly $1 million to a group supporting Romney. Many other energy tycoons have made large donations to Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting Obama.
Public Sour on Biden
[National Journal, 5/23/12] Two new polls released this week reveal Biden isn't exactly winning popularity contests with the public. Thirty-five percent of adults view the vice president positively and 37 percent negatively, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, and a Gallup poll shows similar results. Biden’s figures are markedly lower than Obama’s, underscoring the public’s ambivalence toward the vice president and perhaps complicating his ability to be an effective campaign surrogate.
Despite a Frustrated GOP, Anti-Obama 'Birthers' Still Persist
[CNN, 5/23/12] Why won’t those folks questing the president’s citizenship go away? Peter Hamby explores the lingering concerns that some on the right—including Members of Congress and state parties—have with Obama’s birth certificate, and how this could hurt Romney in November.
Does Portman Have the Edge in VP Sweepstakes?
[Real Clear Politics, 5/23/12] Although Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, offers the standard line that he doesn't expect to be picked as Romney's running mate, the trajectory of his career and his political conduct in Washington have made nearly everyone in politics almost certain that he’ll be plucked for this year's Republican presidential ticket.