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6 Ways Mitt Romney's Getting His Butt Kicked

It ain't over yet, but the challenger is trailing badly no matter how you slice it.
 
 
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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney thanks supporters at the end of a campaign rally September 24, 2012 at Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, September 24, 2012.

 

One has to admire the conservative brain's ability to stave off cognitive dissonance. Republicans have convinced themselves that Obama is the second coming of Hitler, and were sure that Americas would reject him for a nice-looking white business-guy with good hair. But now things aren't going well, so they've simply decided, en masse, that a conspiracy is afoot. The polls are being skewed, and any minute now Romney will come thundering back to crush the Kenyan interloper.

Here in the real world, however, a different picture is emerging. After the necessary caveats – Romney can still win, external events could shake up the race late, nobody knows how restrictive voting laws will ultimately impact the vote – Romney is getting his butt kicked. And here’s how.

1. The Polls

Conspiracy theories about “skewed” polls aside, Obama maintained a very small but persistent lead throughout most of the spring and summer, and since the conventions, he has opened up a significant lead, especially in the crucial battleground states that decide the election.

The Gallup daily tracking poll has Obama up by 6 points nationwide, and TPM's average of all recent polls has him up by just under 5 points.

But the real story is in the swing states. A Washington Post poll out yesterday found Romney trailing in Ohio by 8 points and by 4 points in Florida – without which, Romney has a very tough map. According to TPM's averages, Obama also enjoys leads in Virginia (4 points), Colorado (3 points), Pennsylvania (8 points), Iowa (4 points), Nevada (5 points), Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin (8 points), New Mexico (9 points), Romney's home state of Michigan (11 points) and a razor-thin lead in New Hampshire. The only “swing state” Romney leads is North Carolina – Mitt's up by a third of one percent there in the average, but Obama's led in the 4 most recent polls.

According to New York Times polling guru Nate Silver, if the election were held today, Obama would have a 96.4 percent chance of victory.

2. The Money Race

It wasn't supposed to be this way, but the Obama campaign crushed Team Romney in August fundraising, setting a new record for the month with $85 million to Romney's $66 million.

That's just the campaign's coffers, however. The Republican National Committee has raised a lot more than its Democratic counterparts. And then there are the outside groups.

But what we're seeing is that having control of the cash means something. Romney doesn't dictate how the RNC or these super-PACs spend their loot, and the result has been a less targeted effort.

As far as ad spending, Paul Blumenthal notes a huge disparity :

The campaign committee might be raking in large numbers, but it has questionably refused to spend big money on advertising. Romney's campaign spent a total of $66 million in August -- the same amount it took in -- with only $18.4 million going to media buys and production. The advertising budget for the Obama campaign nearly equaled the entire Romney August budget, with $65 million put forward for television.

This advertising disparity is nothing new. Since Romney became the presumptive nominee in May, the Obama camp has dumped tens of millions every month into advertising to define the Republican candidate before he could define himself. In total, including August's numbers, the Obama campaign has outspent Romney on advertising by nearly 600 percent -- $171.4 million to just $30.3 million.

3. People Don't Like Mitt Romney

 
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