National Republicans may have some serious thinking to do. Their presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney looks to be in serious trouble on multiple fronts today.
Governor Romney has lost ground to President Obama and is now trailing in all of the national polls with the exception of the Rasmussen Reports poll which has been the poll most favorable to Governor Romney. Governor Romney is now tied with President Obama in the latest Rasmussen poll, which is a steep decline in that poll for Governor Romney relative to President Obama since early June.
In battleground states, Governor Romney is seeing similar declines. According to the poll numbers at Real Clear Politics, Governor Romney is behind in Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Obama groups are running hard-hitting television advertisements against Governor Romney in several battleground states that appear to be having an impact. The ads are portraying Governor Romney as a vulture capitalist whose business practices created a net job loss instead of a jobs gain, which is a narrative that is challenging the cornerstone of the Romney campaign strategy. If the Romney job creating narrative is tarnished, he may not be able to find another narrative on which to run.
President Obama won a huge victory with the Supreme Court decision that validated Obamacare, his only signature achievement. Under other circumstances, the Supreme Court decision might be seen as a rallying cry for the limited government opposition. However, it is unlikely that Governor Romney will be able to mount a serious counter-offensive to galvanize the anti-Obamacare forces because his own plan in Massachusetts was the prototype for Obamacare. Governor Romney, the conservative Heritage Foundation, and Republican luminaries like Newt Gingrich were all philosophically predisposed to favor the individual mandate provision which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. Thus, they do not have a lot of credibility on that issue.
Governor Romney’s remaining GOP opponent, Congressman Ron Paul, on the other hand, has been a consistent opponent of the individual mandate, and of government healthcare in principle. Therefore, Governor Romney cannot create the type of contrast with President Obama on Obamacare that Congressman Paul can.
Unfortunately, rather than trying to work with the Ron Paul energy, the GOP alienated many of the the Paul supporters during the primary season, which has created a rift that may be too deep to be repaired. Congressman Paul’s voters are left wondering what could have been possible if the GOP had not decided on Governor Romney prematurely.