Obama’s surge in Florida and Ohio ends Mitt Romney’s campaign if it holds

Today’s very bad day for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan:

* Tracking polls are junk, but Gallup has Obama up by three point over Romney, Obama’s job approval is up to 51%.

* The Times/CBS/Quinnipiac has Obama pulling away in Ohio (+10) and Florida (+9), two states that Obama can lose while still having a decent shot at winning the electoral college, and two states that Mitt Romney absolutely cannot win without. He’s also leading by 12 points in Pennsylvania. Obama leads by 25% amongst Women in Ohio. Obama was only leading by 2 points in the previous poll of Ohio by that pollster.

* Same poll: Obama leading Romney amongst African Americans in Ohio 98-0.

*Obama is surging in support amongst… Catholics, now up 54-39.

* Bloomberg has Obama up by 6 points nationally.

* Obama has lead or tied in 24 straight polls, dating back to August 22nd.

*70% of Americans believe the Affordable Care Act will be implemented with only minor changes, showing very little faith that Republicans will succeed even in changing it substantially. Forget about repealing it.

* An elderly supporter had a sign at a Romney rally that said “Patriotic 47’ers for Romney Ryan”. A Romney staffer stole it.

* A SuperPAC basically run by the Romney campaign is buying $2.2 million worth of ads in Wisconsin and Michigan. Obama lead Romney by 1.7 points on August 15th in Wisconsin, but is now up 7.9 points. Obama lead Romney 4.7 points on June 18th in Michigan, but now leads by 10.9 points. Obama has lead 10 straight polls in Wisconsin and 9 straight in Michigan.

* Meanwhile, Obama is buying ad time in Colorado (Obama +3.3), Florida (O+9), New Hampshire (O+4.2), Nevada (O+5.6), and Ohio (O+10).

* Paul Ryan has paid for and run three ads for his House seat. Money and time not spent trying to win the November general election.

* Obama is leading 54-42 in Pennsylvania, which isn’t supposed to be a swing state. But per above, he’s also leading 53-43 in Ohio and 53-44 in Florida. Florida appears to be coming off the table, which ends Mitt Romney’s campaign, frankly.

* It really is the campaign that can’t shoot straight: @samstein: “Portman says Obama’s raised taxes “already” more than 18 times. yesterday Romney said Obama hadn’t raised taxes in 1st term.” — Rob Portman is Ohio’s junior Republican Senator and was on the short list for VP for the McCain and Romney campaigns.

* A majority of people on Florida and Ohio are disappointed in Obama’s first four years, think the country is worse off than it was four years ago, yet 56% (FL) 58% (OH) think the economy is improving right now or will improve during a second Obama term. 62% in Ohio believe the auto “bailout” was a success. Just 38% believe that Mitt Romney cares about them.

* Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, which PA GOP House leader Mike Turzai boasted “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania”, has run into trouble at the Republican-majority state Supreme Court. The justices found it hard to believe that a law which could possibly disenfranchise legitimate voters must be implemented and enforced before the election which is just weeks away now, when the laws GOP supporters and proponents couldn’t show any evidence of vote fraud in its defense. Now a state judge looks likely to block it. That said, Romney is losing so badly in PA that even if the thousands of Democratic voters are disenfranchised, he’s still probably going to lose.

* No link, but people are openly wondering if Independent numbers are being meaningfully and artificially skewed by Republicans lying about their affiliation. Who Independents break for can often decide elections, so if there’s anything to this, it could mean that Obama is leading with Independents at a higher percent than polls are showing.

* This is somewhat related.

* On a completely unrelated, unscientific and useless note: Dave Weigl asked his GOP Twitter followers who they’d most enjoy seeing lose, other than Obama. They answered with Elizabeth Warren, probably the biggest champion of the 99% in the country in any position of power (or potential position). That’s (my opinion) the reason why Occupy got politicized so quickly and easily. Basically everyone in the country agrees with Occupy Wall Street, but the right inherently identifies with, loves and defend the rich, and hates the poor. Always have. Think back to the welfare fights during the 90s.

* Based on all of that (no link): Nate Silver’s forecast has Barack Obama at an all-time high of 81.9% chance to win the election (electoral college). Per Silver: “The forecast still assumes that Obama’s lead will dissipate some. It thinks he’s 5-6 points up right now, but will win by 3-4.

* * *

My quick analysis: The poor August job report did nothing to hurt Obama or help Romney. If it did those two things, that only means that Obama’s surge right now would have been even larger with a decent job report and he’s coming on so strong that you can’t even see its effects. Which means a poor September jobs report will also do absolutely nothing.

And maybe the most important thing of all: Mitt Romney has failed to make this election a referendum on Obama’s first term or the economy, failed to make it about foreign policy or national security, or basically anything. All those issues have been raised at some point, but none have stuck as *the* issue. For whatever good or harm it does all of us, this election is simply Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney, a true substance-free election.

Strong movement across multiple polls in a short period with no trigger event (conventions) eliminates the possibility of fraud and noise. Seeing this kind of big movement in Florida, Ohio, and PA (and nationally) with such distinct demographics should by all rights, scare the hell out of the GOP. Maybe it’s nothing, but maybe it’s the Romney campaign blowing an engine. If things don’t change marginally back towards the center before the first debate, this could be the beginning of the end.

Remember when Republicans concern trolled that attacks on Bain were a bad idea?

Remember when Romney said the debt, deficit, and spending would decide the election?

Remember when Mitt Romney tried to deflect off his 47% statements with Obama’s old redistribution statements?

Remember when the GOP said health care would make Obama a one-term President?

Remember when they said the contraception mandate would do the same?

Remember when Romney relentlessly hammered Obama over “you didn’t build that”?

Remember when Romney hammered Obama’s response to the Libya consulate attacks?

Neither does anyone else. Anyone who fell for any of that either wanted to believe it was true, or was gullible and got suckered by obvious campaign spin. If pundits/analysts had said either of those things, that would have been something. Nobody outside of of the Romney campaign did. Polls consistently showed that people cared mostly about the economy, and Romney simply couldn’t stay on message about the economy.

Not that it would have mattered, I think. Take this as you will, but things simply aren’t bad enough for a poor candidate from a disliked party (only ~36% of Americans view the GOP favorably, to something like ~49% for Democrats) with no other argument for why he should be President to win. Not nearly. And the prospect of things getting much better over the next four years under Obama (non-partisan CBO, Moodys, others) just don’t add up to a winning argument.

Or an argument at all.

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