In an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted July 5-8, 2012, headlines declared the race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama as "dead even", at 47-47 percent, among registered voters, but digging through the poll provides some very bad news for Obama and good news for Romney.
In the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney extends his lead among Independents to 14 points, 53-39 percent. Two months ago, a POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground poll found Romney had a ten-point lead among the critical Independent voters.
Obama's overall job rating is 47-49 percent, approve-disapprove (the same as in May). But his approvals are majority negative on:
Sixty-three percent say the country’s headed in the wrong direction. This is hard to dispute in light of the very disappointing May and June unemployment reports and the 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent during the Obama presidency.
- The Economy, 44-54 percent;
- Health Care, 41-52 percent (a numerical low in approval, with no bump from last month’s Supreme Court ruling); and
- Immigration, 38-52 percent (also bumpless despite Obama's halting enforcement against certain illegal aliens, who arrived as minors) via executive fiat.
Obama’s biggest shortfall is on the deficit where he trails Romney by 25-70 percent. It's not hard to see why. As of July 6, 2012, the national debt was $15,879,528,608,975.11 ($15.9 trillion). It was $10,626,877,048,913.08 ($10.6 trillion) when Obama became president. That's a $5.3 trillion, or 50 percent, increase in less than four years. On July 3, 2008, Presidential candidate Obama said that adding $4 trillion in debt was "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic." President-elect Obama warned us when he predicted "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come." And President Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term not once but at least five times.
The new poll also offers additional evidence that Obama's continuing and misleading attacks against Romney's private sector experience at Bain Capital has not hurt Romney. The poll found an even split on whether his Bain Capital background is a major reason to support or oppose him (23-24 percent), with 50 percent saying it makes no difference.
The worse news of all for Obama is the sample used for the poll: The new poll used a sample of 33 percent Democrats, 24 percent Republicans and 36 percent Independents.
If Obama is "tied" with Romney among registered voters when the polling sample already favors Democrats by nine percent, then imagine a sample that was actually representative of the country. The numbers above would truly be devastating to Obama.
This isn't an outlier either, recently CNN/ORC also found that Romney is favored by 52 percent Independents on the economy, which polled as the number one priority issue.