Maybe Democrats would be foolish to jump up and down with glee as they look forward to November, but given the punches Republicans are taking, Romney&Co. can almost be counted out.
First of all, Todd Akin isn't going away quietly. After several days with more women switching to Obama, Akin is costing the Republicans something they need badly: as many women voters as they can get. Akin almost looks like he's trying to subvert the party's chances. He's talking and he's talking about abortion.
Social issues have become counterproductive for the GOP in a general election. Understandably, Romney campaign wants to talk about healthcare and, most of all, the economy. Akin grabs the headlines once against by talking about maybe possibly resigning after all (complicating the Missouri race considerably). Whatever else he's doing, he's standing in the way of a Republican party that has learned it has to handle social issues better or lose votes.
The backlash over Akin's comments has dominated campaigning for the November 6 election, energizing Democrats and testing Romney's control over his party a week before the national convention to formally nominate him for the presidency - the biggest event in his political career.
To the chagrin of many Republicans, the controversy has set off a firestorm over abortion and other social issues that distracts from the jobs-oriented economic message Romney and his vice presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, want to send to relatively moderate independent voters. ...Reuters
Other Republican behaviors are getting plenty of media attention, too. Dana Milbank, writing today in the Washington Post, cites naked Republican members of Congress frolicking.
The 30 Republican lawmakers on the “fact-finding” mission to Israel last summer earned a rebuke from Majority Leader Eric Cantor and attracted the attention of the FBI. The naked congressman, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), admitted in a statement: “[R]egrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit.”
A boozy frolic at a Christian holy site might have been a considerable embarrassment for the party, but it was eclipsed by a bigger one: Akin’s preposterous claim on a St. Louis TV program that pregnancy is rare after a “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” ...Milbank, WaPo
Okay. That kind of stuff -- Akin and regrettable Congressional nakedness -- will fade fairly quickly. But this won't:
The replace-medicare-with-voucher plan turns out to be a bust. Pew Research reports that whereas in May 35% were for the plan and 45% against, now it's 34% for and 49% against. Sinking.
Also from Pew: It's way, way more important to most Americans to keep Social Security and Medicare as they are than reduce the deficit. 51% for keeping benefits vs. 33% for reducing deficit.
Biden doesn't get great marks from the general public (Democrats still like him). But how does Ryan do?
28% think he's "excellent/good and 46% think he's "only fair/poor."
Not much fun there for the Republicans.
If perception is everything, then Republicans won't like this tidbit from NPR's "Here and Now" either:
Polls out Wednesday show President Obama holding onto a slight lead despite the addition of Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket, but there is an interesting twist in the numbers — a lot of people who support Governor Mitt Romney think that President Obama is going to win. ...Here and Now
That last almost certainly refers to the latest AP-GfK poll. Huffington Post has this:
If the entire Republican Convention doesn't get swept by Hurricane Isaac into the oily Gulf over the weekend, and if Romney and/or Ryan come out smelling like a rose, their numbers may rise. Conventions can do that.
Overall, 47 percent of registered voters said they planned to back Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in November, while 46 percent favored Romney and Ryan. That's not much changed from a June AP-GfK survey, when the split was 47 percent for the president to 44 percent for Romney.
At the same time, there's a far wider gap when people were asked who they thought would win. Some 58 percent of adults said they expected Obama to be re-elected, while just 32 percent said they thought he'd be voted out of office. Majorities say they expect Obama to win regardless of their level of interest in the campaign.
Yet while partisans generally expect their own candidate to win, Republicans are less sure about Romney than Democrats are about Obama – 83 percent of Democrats say Obama will be re-elected while 57 percent of Republicans think he'll be voted out of office.
One such Republican, 78-year-old Catherine Shappard of Dallas, said she's been alarmed to see even conservative commentators warning that Obama has a good shot at re-election.
"I think it's close," Shappard said. "A lot closer than I'd like it to be." ...HuffPo