After a magnificent May, it’s turning out to be a joyous June for Mitt Romney.
Political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg asserts in Roll Call that President Obama now “looks like a narrow underdog for re-election”:
While most polls don’t yet show the president trailing in his bid for a second term, polling is often a lagging indicator. National and swing state survey data demonstrate a slow but steady erosion in Obama’s numbers, including in hypothetical ballot tests, and that deterioration is likely to continue if more bad news comes along.
Rothenberg’s analysis tracks with an emerging consensus in Washington: the presidential race will soon be Romney’s to lose, if it isn’t already.
In the Obama campaign’s Chicago headquarters, I’m told there’s a sense of preternatural calm: the staff believes it has a better candidate, a superior organization, and that it remains in control of what campaigns are able to control. Indeed, the rising sense of panic among Washington Democrats is one reason Team Obama is glad not to be in the cauldron of the capital.
Yet as John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post:
The odd habit of taking a cat nap on the subway track while the IRT is bearing down on you at 60 miles an hour isn’t unique to this administration. In 1993, I wrote a book, “Hell of a Ride,” that chronicled the suicide of the George H.W. Bush presidency in part due to the excess of calm inside the White House bubble.
The same self-destructive calm was in effect in 1994, when Bill Clinton’s party was shocked to find itself decimated by the Republicans in the midterm elections; in 2006, when George W. Bush’s party was similarly thumped — and in 2010, when Barack Obama’s party was shellacked.
But, as James Pethokoukis observes, jobs numbers appear to be flat at best.
Howard Kurtz suggests that Romney’s run of good luck may only last until the next gaffe. At this rate, though, Romney need only keep his head down long enough to win by default.