The Rasmussen tracking poll Thursday had Romney with 47 percent to Obama’s 46 percent, while Gallup’s seven-day rolling average showed Obama with 47 percent and Romney with 45 percent. And 47 percent of those surveyed by Gallup disapproved of Obama’s performance, versus 46 percent approval.
Moreover, a recent poll showed 50 percent of likely voters said they trust Romney more on the economy and taxes, compared to only 42 percent giving the president the edge in trustworthiness on those key issues. So why is Obama able to hang in there with backing from nearly half the voters in the face of this rotten economy which by some accounts is about to get worse?
The answer lies in how voters in these polls look at Romney — the result in no small measure of the attacks by the Obama camp going right at the heart of Romney’s strength, his business experience. Get this: a new Rasmussen survey shows that 41 percent of likely voters think Romney’s record as a businessman is a reason to vote against him — matching the 41 percent that say it’s primarily a reason to vote for him. The battle is being fought for the 18 percent, nearly one-fifth of those polled, who say they are not sure if Romney’s business experience is a plus or minus.
On the issue du jour of demands that Romney release more than two years of tax returns, there are mixed signals. In a USA Today/Gallup Poll, 54 percent said Romney should release more returns, while only 37 percent disagreed. However, the very same poll showed 47 percent of those surveyed said releasing tax returns is “largely irrelevant” to choosing a candidate, but 44 percent said the returns provide “legitimate information that helps voters make better decisions.”
The inconsistency is connected to the candidate. It’s one thing to say tax returns are irrelevant as a general rule, but when it comes to a real candidate, things change — because of the political viewpoints, plain and simple: a whopping 75 percent of the Democrats polled said Romney should release more tax returns as did 53 percent of independents, but only 30 percent of Republicans agreed. If the situation were reversed, one might reasonably assume that most Republicans would be calling for Obama to release more returns and most Democrats would disagree.
It seems many voters in these polls separate Obama from the issues. Per the poll results previously cited, if 50 percent of likely voters trust Romney more on the economy and taxes, then why in the name of common sense don’t they plan to vote for him? The same question arises concerning Rasmussen’s finding that 66 percent of the people surveyed believe the government has too much power, and most voters continue to favor repeal of Obamacare.
Bottom line: trouble for Obama.