In the span of just a few weeks, Barack Obama has gone from losing the all-important “who would better handle the economy” survey question to actually beating out Mitt Romney in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Sure, Obama’s one-point advantage on that question may not sound like much, except that Romney had a 14-point advantage just last month. When asked who they would vote for were the elections held today, likely voters picked Obama 49 percent of the time, to 46 percent for Romney — that’s up from just a one-point lead a month ago. Granted, this is just a single snapshot — and, for what it’s worth, the Obama campaign is on the record tarring an earlier New York Times/CBS News poll as “significantly biased.”
But other polls are also looking good for Obama. A Philadelphia Enquirer poll released today shows the president leading in Pennsylvania — once considered a swing state for 2012 — by 11 points. That’s a three-point gain from just a month ago and a sure sign that, as some have predicted, Pennsylvania is off the table and it’s neighboring Ohio that everyone should watch.
Meanwhile, a new AP poll (conducted in concert with the National Constitution Center) found that more than 80 percent of respondents want to limit the oodles of outside, often undisclosed money pouring into this presidential race. And with most of that Koch-financed, Karl Rove-organized money favoring the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, there’s always the possibility that the ensuing ads leave a bitter aftertaste in voters’ mouths.
That doesn’t mean that it’s all smooth sailing for Obama’s reelection campaign, however. Times statistics guru Nate Silver warned, in a very early morning post today, that a steep decline in manufacturing output in August has lowered Obama’s chances of winning the Electoral College by 2.4 points, to 76.2 percent. Not that those are particularly bad odds, all things considered.