“With few voters still on the fence, President Barack Obama holds leads over Mitt Romney in new polls of Ohio, Florida and Virginia, three of the states likely to determine who wins the White House in November,” is how the story unfolded.
“Among likely voters,” the Journal story said, “Mr. Obama leads Mr. Romney by seven percentage points in Ohio and by five points in both Florida and Virginia, the polls found. The polls, conducted Sept. 9-11, carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for those voters.”
Unless something changes – and yes, there are four debates between now and Election Day – things are not looking good for the Romney campaign.
But there were also some rays of hope in the poll for Romney. According to the Journal, he “edged the president among independents in both Ohio and Virginia. In all three states, Mr. Obama’s job approval hovered at or below 50%. And the polls found a sharp drop from 2008 in likely first-time voters, a group that went strongly for Mr. Obama in the last election. Mr. Romney is also getting a larger share of the white vote than Sen. John McCain did in 2008.”
The Romney people say the poll is only a snapshot, and one taken at right after the Democratic National Convention, a time most favorable to the president. They may be right. And with the election still more than a month away, anything is possible.
But I’m pretty sure about this: If Barack Obama wins he will not only be saddled with high unemployment, an enormous debt, and an all-around economic mess, much of it of his own doing, but a mess of a different kind altogether.
Let me re-visit a theme I’ve written about before.
If he wins, President Obama will have succeeded in pitting Americans against each other – never a good thing. Once politicians divided us based on race. Mr. Obama divides us based on money. He plays the envy card and turns us against each other based on how much we have in the bank.
If he wins, he will have convinced Americans that Mitt Romney is the kind of guy who callously shuts down steel mills, fires its workers to line his pockets, and doesn’t care if their wives die of cancer, supposedly for lack of medical insurance.
If he wins, he will have convinced them, too, that Mitt Romney is a tax cheat and possibly a felon.
If he wins, he will have successfully conveyed a nasty message that Republicans are racists. Remember Mr. Obama’s sidekick, Joe Biden, telling a mostly African-American audience that “they’re gonna put y’all back in chains.”
Barack Obama is the man who won the trust of a majority of American voters four years ago not just with his promises to fix the economy. He was going to heal the divisions in America, the nasty, never-ending partisan arguments that had become poisonous.
Four years later, the unemployment rate is still high, the national debt is $5 trillion more than when he took office, the overall economy is still a mess, and we’re more polarized today than when he was elected.
The Wall Street Journal poll may indeed only be a snapshot, but it isn’t encouraging for Mitt Romney, not at the moment anyway. But it isn’t encouraging for Barack Obama, either.
If he wins, the man who told us that there is no Red State or Blue State America, only a United States of America, will learn how hollow that line really was. He will be president of a deeply divided and angry nation.
No, hard line liberals would not be happy if Romney wins. We would still be divided and angry. But Mitt Romney has done nothing to tear this country apart. Decent people who didn’t vote for him, I hope, would wish him well – just as many Republicans four years ago wished Mr. Obama well.
But Barack Obama has done great harm to this country. Take away the smile and he’s David Axelrod, just one more politician who would do just about anything to win.
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