President Obama has been campaigning as if the public's impressions of him are immutable, and the only variable in play is what voters think of Mitt Romney. But has he overplayed that hand? A few clues suggest that perhaps he has. NBC News is coming out with a new poll showing Obama's favorable ratings at a new low, confirming a basic trend TPM has already found. And Obama's campaign has put out two new ads, both eschewing the standard mockery of Mitt Romney to instead put Obama in front of the camera and be plainspoken and likeable.
It's worth noting that if Obama actually is suffering from the negative tone of his campaign, it may be happening in part because of an oddity of the financing of the campaign. Obama is raising and spending most of his money directly, which means that he has to go on-air and say he approves the message of all his anti-Romney ads. Romney's spending is mostly being handled by outside groups, which absolves Romney of any direct connection.
Whatever the reason, there's suddenly a lot of reason to think Obama feels compelled to shore up his own standing.