Will Public Lose Interest in Space Funding?

Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
July 20, 2011, 9:52 p.m.

A CNN/Time/Opin­ion Re­search Corp. poll; con­duc­ted 10/1-5; sur­veyed 585 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 4.0% (re­lease, 10/6). Tested: Sen. Chuck Schu­mer (D) and ex-GOP con­sult­ant Jay Town­send (R).

Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­up

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom C. Schu­mer 57% 945 23% 49% 52% 63% J. Town­send 41 6 76 47 47 34 Oth­er 1 — — 1 — 1 Neither 1 — — 1 1 1 Un­dec 1 — 1 1 — 1

(For more from this poll, please see today’s NY SEN, NY GOV and NY In The States stor­ies.)

The Town­send

A Pub­lic Policy Polling (D) (IVR) poll; con­duc­ted 10/1-3; sur­veyed 592 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 4.0% (re­lease, 10/6). Party ID break­down: 48%D, 32%R, 21%I. Tested: Schu­mer and Town­send.

Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­up

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom C. Schu­mer 59% 86% 28% 47% 56% 63% J. Town­send 37 11 71 49 41 34 Un­dec 3 4 2 4 3 4

Schu­mer As Sen.

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom Ap­prove 57% 82% 30% 42% 54% 60% Dis­ap­prove 35 11 62 48 41 29


- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom J. Town­send 22%/16% 10%/20% 37%/12% 27%/14% 23%/19% 21%/13%

(For more from this poll, please see today’s NY SEN and NY In The States stor­ies.)

Look­ing at the broad­est num­bers in the pres­id­en­tial race, things don’t look too bad for Mitt Rom­ney.

In the latest-avail­able trend es­tim­ate (a fancy weighted av­er­age) of na­tion­al polls com­piled by Huff­Post Poll­ster, Rom­ney leads Pres­id­ent Obama by one-tenth of a per­cent­age point, 45.8 per­cent to 45.7 per­cent — a stat­ist­ic­ally in­sig­ni­fic­ant ad­vant­age, but his first lead in the poll av­er­age this year. Real­Clear­Polit­’s more tra­di­tion­al av­er­age of na­tion­al polls still shows Obama ahead, but by just 1.6 points, 46.6 per­cent to 45 per­cent. Huff­Post Poll­ster and Real­Clear­Polit­ics both show Obama’s job-ap­prov­al rat­ings as up­side down: Huff­Post Poll­ster finds that 49.2 per­cent dis­ap­prove of the pres­id­ent’s per­form­ance, while 45.9 per­cent ap­prove; RCP has 47.1 per­cent of re­spond­ents dis­ap­prov­ing, and 47.9 per­cent ap­prov­ing.

Yet, from watch­ing the news or listen­ing to chat­ter about the race, Rom­ney doesn’t seem to be in that strong of a po­s­i­tion. Even be­fore his rather im­pol­it­ic words in Lon­don last week, voters in swing states were be­ing treated to at­tacks on his ca­reer at Bain Cap­it­al, news of his off­shore per­son­al in­vest­ments, and calls for him to re­lease more than two years of his in­come tax re­turns. In Huff­Post Poll­ster’s trend es­tim­ate on his fa­vor­ab­il­ity, Rom­ney has a 40 per­cent fa­vor­able rat­ing and 45 per­cent un­fa­vor­able rat­ing; Real­Clear­Polit­ics shows his rat­ings even at 43.1 per­cent on both sides of the ledger. But more to the point, us­ing Huff­Post Poll­ster’s poll av­er­ages in in­di­vidu­al states, Rom­ney has a lead in only one of a dozen battle­ground states, North Car­o­lina (by 2 points). Mean­while, Obama is ahead in the oth­er 11, with leads ran­ging from as small as 1 (Flor­ida), 2 (Vir­gin­ia), and 3 points (Col­or­ado, Iowa, and New Hamp­shire), to as wide as 4 (Ohio), 5 (Michigan and Nevada), 6 (Min­nesota and Wis­con­sin), and 7 points (Pennsylvania). It’s pretty clear the pic­ture in the battle­ground states isn’t ex­actly the same as the one na­tion­wide, and one might sur­mise that Obama seems to be faring bet­ter in the states where the ad­vert­ising is the hot­test and heav­iest than he is over­all.

My hunch is that the polling dis­par­ity has more to do with the Obama cam­paign’s at­tacks on Rom­ney’s busi­ness and per­son­al fin­ances, but I found it in­ter­est­ing that while sit­ting in a Nevada hotel room on a re­cent night watch­ing a Law and Or­der: SVU mara­thon on cable (I couldn’t bear to watch the dread­ful open­ing ce­re­mon­ies of the Olympics) that I saw 12 Obama ads over sev­er­al hours of view­ing and not a single Rom­ney or pro-Rom­ney ad. Ap­par­ently, his cam­paign has yet to be­gin mak­ing any loc­al cable buys in swing states — a rather odd de­cision, in my view.

But Rom­ney has a chance to hit the re­set but­ton with his vice pres­id­en­tial pick. It’s not that his choice it­self is likely to make that much dif­fer­ence, un­less it’s a bad one, but it is likely to be­gin a new and dif­fer­ent nar­rat­ive, shift­ing the fo­cus away from his fin­ances and his crit­ic­al re­view of the United King­dom’s hand­ling of pre­par­a­tions for the Lon­don Olympics, and that’s prob­ably a good thing. It’s highly un­likely that he will an­nounce a game-chan­ging pick — my odds are that there’s a 40 per­cent chance each of former Min­nesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Sen. Rob Port­man of Ohio get­ting the nod and only a 20 per­cent chance of it be­ing someone dif­fer­ent — but it will change the sub­ject, at least for a time.

Of course, Rom­ney may sur­prise us, but his mod­us op­erandi cer­tainly would ar­gue for him pick­ing someone who would be seen as a ser­i­ous adult with strong ex­ec­ut­ive ex­per­i­ence, someone who em­phas­izes com­pet­ence, not someone who would be seen as a blatantly polit­ic­al pick. It doesn’t ap­pear that either Pawlenty or Port­man would move the needle much, even in their home states. So the se­lec­tion of either would be more of a move to re­in­force a cent­ral mes­sage of com­pet­ence and ex­ec­ut­ive abil­ity — Pawlenty as a suc­cess­ful two-term gov­ernor, Port­man as a former budget dir­ect­or and U.S. trade rep­res­ent­at­ive on top of his ser­vice in Con­gress and do­ing le­gis­lat­ive af­fairs in the George H.W. Bush White House. Ar­gu­ably Pawlenty’s life story — son of a truck driver, grow­ing up in the shad­ows of the South St. Paul stock­yards — is an ap­peal­ing story that would off­set Rom­ney’s more priv­ileged back­ground, while Port­man might of­fer him more help start­ing from Day One in of­fice thanks to ex­tens­ive Wash­ing­ton ex­per­i­ence that neither Rom­ney nor Pawlenty pos­sesses.

So don’t look for a game-chan­ging run­ning mate pick, but maybe one who could al­ter the cur­rent story line, which ob­vi­ously hasn’t been a good nar­rat­ive for Rom­ney.

What We're Following See More »
Putin-Linked Think Tank Developed Plan to Influence U.S. Election
3 days ago

A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."

FBI Relied on Dossier Allegations to Monitor Page
4 days ago

"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."

Russian Bombers Fly Near Alaska
5 days ago
Pentagon Deploying F-35s to Europe
1 weeks ago

"The Air Force is set to deploy its high-tech, fifth-generation F-35A fighter jets to Europe this weekend as part of an effort to assure U.S. allies there who are worried about Russian aggression." The new, state-of-the-art fighters will train with European air units. "The Pentagon noted that the deployment had been long planned, meaning it was not a reaction to recent increasing tensions between the United States and Russia," although a statement noted the move is part of the "European Reassurance Initiative," which began three years ago when Russia annexed Crimea.

Tillerson Meets Putin
1 weeks ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.