Back in April, I wrote about why the media talking heads were wrong about the president's focus on Romney's conservatism as opposed to his flip-flopping, and why that focus was exactly the right thing to do. Here's proof that it was: In a new Bloomberg survey, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by a whopping 13 points - 53% to 40% - among likely voters.
Here's some other key numbers from the poll:
- Over 50% Approval Rating: President Obama's approval rating, at 53%, matches his support in the contest - a strong indication that the president is gaining both policy and electoral support.
- Favorability: President Obama's favorability rating is at 55%, compared to Mitt Romney's 39%. Note how closely these numbers track their actual support in the poll for the election.
- Enthusiasm gap: 76% of Obama supporters support the president "very strongly" or "fairly strongly," compared to only 52% of Romney supporters. Only 6% of the president's supporters describe their support as "not strong," while Romney doubles that number at 12%.
- Economy - Advantage Obama: The president beats Mr. Romney not only on understanding the problems of people like the respondents themselves (55 to 35), the president has succeeded in breaking through the media barrier and establishing that his vision is better for the economy, with voters now giving him an edge by 48-43.
- Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats enjoy a 48-41 advantage (leaners included).
announcement on immigration (the same survey shows two-thirds of likely voters supporting the president's actioin). What has fallen off precipitously is Mitt Romney's support. In other words, it's not so much that people have decided to move into the Obama camp in droves (yet) so much as they have realized that Mitt Romney is not the savior he wants people to think he is.
There is reason to believe that the Bloomberg poll is based on a reasonable, statistically valid sample size and survey. The sample has counts 5 percentage points of Democrats and Democratic leaning voters than Republican and Republican leaning voters - which, if anything, gives Republicans an edge compared to the available national registration data (D +12). The results of other questions on the poll - right track/wrong track numbers, importance of issues on voters' minds - all confirm this poll to be within the mainstream of other available recent polling.
The President and his campaign team had known something for a long time: the right wing, including Mitt Romney, will have the support of deep-pocketed big money donors who can donate $10 million - hell, even $100 million - without even feeling it. But as I wrote before, the President's campaign, despite the howling of professional whiners and the ridicule of the media, settled on a clear strategy against Mitt Romney. Despite the countervailing conventional wisdom that Mitt Romney is most vulnerable to the charges of being a flip-flopping clown who isn't sure of his position on any given issue at any given hour, the Obama campaign decided to tie Mr. Romney to the far-Right policies he had embraced as a candidate, and the banner of which he carries as the Republican nominee.
The Obama campaign then used Mitt Romney's performance at Bain Capital as a corporate buyout specialist who always made money regardless of the fate of the companies and their employees he and his firm invested in - and often made that money on the backs of putting families out of work and devastating local communities - to tie him to the Republican vision. Namely, the same Republican vision that says that if we just let the corporate buyout specialists, big business and other uber rich people do what they please, without any protections for consumers or workers, everything would turn out swimmingly. Then the Obama campaign cemented that image with proof Romney's GOP economic agenda helped Massachusetts fall to the bottom on job creation under his leadership.
In all of these ways, the Obama campaign made their case that Mitt Romney isn't just out of touch because he is clueless about the life of an average American, but that his policies - both in business and in government - aim to benefit the wealthy without regard to the rest of us. In other words, the Obama campaign has painted, correctly, the Republican vision, as out of touch with not just what most Americans believe but with economic policies that do right by the middle class and the poor.
The President's campaign didn't stop there, of course. Along with defining Mitt Romney as a far-Right out-of-touch conservative and the Republicans in Congress as a grand obstructionist and radical party, the president defined himself and his vision with a balanced approach to investment and growth now with a long term strategy to bring the debt under control. The president laid out his vision - a country where we maintain and strengthen the basic bargains of the common good - our investment in our roads, bridges and schools, in our children, students, research and medical care, and our commitment to past generations on whose shoulders we stand. The president, who chose to work to empower the poor during first years of his working life, not only understands how people feel, but knows what policies will help grow the middle class.
Certainly, the election is not today, and it's by no means decided. But against all odds, the President is making the case not just for his re-election and Mitt Romney's defeat, but for the shared vision of a common future that he has and would like to pursue and against the corporate-socialist vision of the Republican party and Mitt Romney. The president has long made his intention clear that this election is not simply a choice between two candidates but between two very different visions of how to rebuild our country. One where a shared future is built with everyone, including the rich paying their fair share, and the other that rejects the very idea of that shared future. Against all odds and the media blockade, he's getting through. We need to keep at it, and help him reach even more people with this message.