Election 2014  
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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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It's been a persistent finding all year: Obama enjoys a higher favorability rating than job approval – some of the people who don't think he's done a good job still like him personally. He had a 10-point net favorability rating in the latest Pew poll.

For Mitt, the story is quite different. As Pew Research noted, Romney is the first candidate since 1988, for either major party, to be saddled with a negative net favorability rating in September.

4. The Issues

Remember them? The story for most of the summer leading up to the conventions was that the American people preferred Obama to Romney on most issues, save the most important one: handling the economy. That's what was keeping the race close.

But Obama's post-convention surge happened as (or because) he pulled ahead of Romney on the economy. According to the latest Washington Post poll :

Fifty percent of all voters say they trust the president more to deal with the economy; 43 percent say so of his Republican challenger... The president also holds a big lead over his rival on who is trusted to advance the interests of the middle class.

That means that Obama now leads not only on key character traits, but on every issue the pollsters ask about, except for whom voters trust more to reduce the deficit. Here's the scorecard from Pew's September 19 survey :

5. Coattails

Obama was not the only politician to emerge from the convention with a gust of wind in his sails. Democrats' newfound enthusiasm seems to be having an impact on down-ballot races. On August 26, the day before the RNC began, Nate Silver gave Democrats a 50-50 chance of holding the Senate. In the month since, their chances of holding the upper chamber have increased to 83 percent .

According to The Hill, Republican strategists are concerned about the top of the ticket dragging down their party’s chances:

Republican strategists say that Romney has had a rough stretch recently and warn it could cost the party Senate seats if his execution fails to improve by November.

“Every year the top of the ticket has a great influence on the races below. Massachusetts is a very competitive race, and we have a great candidate in Scott Brown. If Obama wins overwhelmingly, it’s a lot more difficult for Scott Brown to get reelected,” said John Weaver, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2000 and 2008 presidential bids.

“If your guy wins the White House, he’s going to sweep in one or two or three Senate races that might not happen otherwise,” he added.

The ongoing Mittastrophe also has a number of GOP candidates for the House squirming .

6. Enthusiasm

The rise in Obama's polls following the conventions is almost entirely a result of disenchanted Democrats coming back into the fold and getting fired up for the general election. For much of the race, the GOP had counted on an “enthusiasm” gap in their favor, but that appears to have reversed itself.

In the latest Washington Post poll , 94 percent of Obama supporters were somewhat or very enthusiastic about voting in November, while just 6 percent were unenthusiastic. Eighty-six percent of Romney voters were similarly fired up, while 13 percent said they were “not so enthusiastic” or “not enthusiastic at all.”

Seventy-five percent of Obama supporters said they were voting for the president, while 22 percent were voting against Romney. It's a very different picture for the Republican: only 45 percent of Romney supporters say they're voting for him, while half say they're voting against Obama.

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