President Obama has regained momentum in the presidential race, at least according to the results of the just-released Quinnipiac battleground-state polls and a separate Democracy Corps poll conducted last week. All four polls show Obama at the 50 percent mark or above, with growing leads over Mitt Romney.
What should concern the Romney campaign is that these numbers are coming out despite the fact that voters are indicating their economic situation has gotten worse. Voter opinions of an incumbent usually track closely with the trajectory of the economy. But that’s not happening this time, perhaps because voters have lowered their expectations about the economy.
And if that’s the case, Romney's campaign may need to rethink the “prevent defense” strategy it has employed throughout the race, most recently the decision to limit Romney’s press conferences on an important overseas trip. The trip should have been a smashing success; instead, because of challenges dealing with a frustrated press corps, it was at best a missed opportunity.
August will be a seminal month for the Romney campaign. Romney will be picking a running mate and showcasing his candidacy in front of millions of television viewers at the national convention in Tampa, Fla., at month’s end. If he pulls into the lead in late August, his campaign team can breathe a sigh of relief. But if Obama is still chugging along, there could well be an enveloping sense of panic.
--Josh Kraushaar, Hotline executive editor
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Emboldened Tea Party: Romney Better Move to the Right
[ABC News, 8/1/12] Riding a wave of recent successes in the House and now also the Senate – with the stunning Texas victory of tea party-backed Ted Cruz over an establishment candidate -- tea party groups are eyeing the possible control of both chambers, a prospect they say would force a President Romney to the right.
Bush Tax Cuts Votes are All About November
[National Journal, 8/1/12] All of the posturing in Congress over the Bush tax cuts will prove its worth on the campaign trail, as Romney paints the Democrats as willing to raise taxes on small business owners, and Obama talks of taxing the rich to tackle income inequality. But both sides leave key information out of their arguments.
Tax Reform: No Silver Bullet
[National Journal, 8/1/12] What Obama hasn’t mentioned in his attack on Romney’s tax-reform plan is that any kind of comprehensive “tax reform” would not offer the government an easy path out of the country’s debt and deficit problems. National Journal’s Jack Farrell weighs in.
Romney's Chances in Iowa: Gone with the Wind?
[National Journal, 8/1/12] On the question of extending the wind production tax credit -- an important issue for Iowans because of the roughly 7,000 jobs tied to the state's wind-energy industry -- the two candidates have made their positions perfectly (and diametrically) clear: Obama supports it and Romney does not. National Journal’s Tim Alberta writes that Romney’s unpopular stance on an issue that demands a certain flexibility is perplexing.
Obama and Romney: Where They Stand on the Issues
[Associated Press, 8/1/12] The Associated Press lays out Obama and Romney's stance on certain issues: everything from abortion, debt, economy and education to foreign policy, gay rights, guns, and health care.
Twitter Will Gauge Voter Sentiment in New Venture
[National Journal, 8/1/12] As the political survey research industry confronts unprecedented challenges, many are looking to non-survey approaches to fill the gaps. And Twitter may have the answer – the company joined forces with a data analysis firm and two campaign pollsters to develop a new way to measure how its users feel about the candidates.
Three Reasons Skipping Afghanistan Won't Hurt Mitt Romney NEW!
[U.S. News and World Report, 8/1/12] Romney opted against visiting troops in Afghanistan last week and political experts doubt that pictures of him there would have helped his campaign. Three reasons why this visit would not have made a difference in November: politics, the economy and allies.
Analysis: In Quest For Women Voters, Obama Should Push Obamacare
[U.S. News and World Report, 8/1/12] Obama’s numbers are plummeting among single women, bad news for the president because they have been among his most loyal supporters. But Obama’s healthcare law could be a potent issue for Democrats this year in that demographic.
Place Your Bets: GOPers Start Speaking Up on Veeps NEW!
[Politico, 8/1/12] As the clock ticks down to Romney’s veep announcement, a slew of prominent Republicans are making their own feelings know. House Speaker John Boehner is “partial” to Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thinks “there’s nobody better” than Paul Ryan.
Negative Talk About Romney Spikes After Gaffes
[National Journal, 8/1/12] Romney’s gaffe-filled foreign trip did some political damage stateside. A survey, which tracks word-of-mouth discussions among adults, found that on Sunday, 49 percent of conversations about Romney were negative, a 7-percentage-point spike from the previous day’s tracking.
The Best Pick For Romney’s VP? The One Nobody’s Talking About
[Christian Science Monitor, 8/1/12] Romney should consider House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, who could help him with the Jewish vote, gain him support in a crucial swing state, and give him an exciting surprise selection bounce.
Speculation About Romney's Taxes Goes Off the Rails
[The Atlantic, 8/1/12] After Sen. Harry Reid's declaration that Romney has not paid taxes in 10 years, the Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta reminds us of when Sen. John McCain said Romney's tax returns have nothing disqualifying in them. Reasons McCain passed over Romney for VP were his many houses, Sarah Palin's fresh face and her potential ability to get the female vote.
GOP: W.H., Messina ‘Failed’ on Transparency
[Politico, 7/31/12] Republicans are hitting the Obama campaign hard on claims that the White House conducted business on private e-mail accounts and met with lobbyists at the Caribou Coffee across the street. In 2011, White House press secretary Jay Carney said all of their work is conducted on work e-mail, reports BuzzFeed. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has demanded a “full-scale investigation” into the administration’s record-keeping, but punted on the question of applying the same standards to a President Romney.
Analysis: Scientists Go Beyond the Polls to Forecast U.S. Election
[Reuters, 8/1/12] Academics across the country have found equations to predict who will win the presidency under different circumstances. This science has sometimes proven more accurate than a poll taken the day before the election.
Reporters Covering Romney’s Overseas Trip Missed the Real Story
[Fox News, 8/1/12] If media outlets had sent their foreign affairs reporters on Romney’s trip instead of sending political reporters, they might have given us serious reporting on the international issues the presumptive GOP nominee raised during his trip overseas.