First, let’s review the state of the economy, which everyone agrees is the single biggest issue that will decide who wins the election.
Jobs: The official unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for Barack Obama’s entire term thus far. As bad as that number is, the reality is even worse. If you count the people who stopped looking for work in the job numbers, the real unemployment rate is nearly 15 percent. That should be very bad news for this or any president seeking re-election.
Economic Recovery: It’s the most anemic at least since World War II. And even if we don’t slide into another recession, no one is predicting a serious change for the better anytime soon.
ObamaCare: Most Americans still don’t like it. They worry that they won’t be able to keep their doctor or their medical plan, and they’re right to worry. They worry that panels will decide if they qualify for life-saving operations – or if the cost would be prohibitive because they’re “too old.” Let’s not call them “death panels” – that only riles up the liberals — but you can make a case that that’s exactly what they will be.
Spending: Barack Obama continues to spend money we don’t have. He’s racked up about $5 trillion in debt since taking office. Even by Washington standards, that’s serious money.
You get the idea.
Now let’s look at some polls that have come out this month.
Rasmussen has Obama up 47 percent to 46.
CBS/New York Times has Romney up 47 to 46.
Pew has Obama leading 50 to 43 percent.
Quinnipiac shows Obama up 46 to 43.
Washington Post/ABC has the race tied 47 all.
There are more but they’re just like the ones you’ve been reading. But shouldn’t Mitt Romney be up by at least 5 points, given the crummy economy? Why isn’t he?
It isn’t because the American people think Barack Obama is doing such a wonderful job. As dopey as we Americans can be, we’re not that stupid. So what is it? I think it’s that Mitt Romney comes off like a stiff. Stuff like that apparently matters, even in hard economic times. He reminds people of the little guy with the monocle on the Monopoly board.
The president has portrayed Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy who has money in Swiss banks and who knows where else? And why isn’t he releasing his old tax forms, Team Obama wants to know? What’s he hiding?
This may be taking a toll on Romney. Never mind that FDR was also rich. And so was JFK and LBJ and John Kerry. Having a lot of money is only a crime, as far as liberal Democrats are concerned, if you’re a Republican with a lot of money.
The good news for Romney is that only Rasmussen polled “likely voters.” And in that one, President Obama is up by a single point, well within the margin of error. The others polled either “registered voters” – many of whom don’t show up on Election Day – or simply “adults” – folks who may or may not know how many states there are in the United State; many of whom, thankfully, also don’t show up to vote.
There’s also bad news. Romney isn’t doing well in the battleground states, the ones that will decide the election.
Now you know why I’m still bewitched, bothered and bewildered.