In campaigns, unlike actual horse races, it can be tricky to tell who’s winning at the moment it is happening. But the evidence is starting to pile up that President Obama has had a better month than Mitt Romney. Consider a few straws in the wind (along with a pile of disclaimers):
1. FiveThirtyEight’s ultra-sophisticated forecasting model has Obama’s reelection odds reaching an all-time high (it now gives Obama just over a 70 percent chance of winning.)
2. After weeks of bold bluster, Republicans are quietly beginning to acknowledge that attacks on Romney’s business career have hurt. Zeke Miller and McKay Coppins have a report today describing, without quotes, the belief of Romney advisers that they have had a bad stretch (they hopefully look forward to the vice-president rollout as a reset moment.) The same belief is evidenced by Romney’s bringing in a veteran operative to handle its Bain message, a clear sign it believes the old strategy has not worked. Likewise, Virginia Republican researcher Mike McKenna tells the Associated Press that the anti-Bain assault “has done a lot of damage.”
3. Yesterday’s Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS poll has Obama strongly leading by six points in Ohio and Florida, along with a double-digit lead in Pennsylvania. Likewise, a Pew poll today has Obama leading by ten points nationally.
Now, it’s important not to over-interpret any of these data points. Quinnipiac and Pew, the latter especially, tend to find Obama faring better than do other polls, and Pew’s sample projects an unrealistically Democratic-heavy electorate. [Update: Quinnipiac actually has a slight Republican lean, making its results somewhat more meaningful.] Obama is almost certainly not up by double-digits nationally. But the fact that a poll with a general Obama lean now has him leading by ten, when the same poll had up by four to seven points in the previous four months, does suggest some movement. Part of what’s happening is that we just have the more Democratic-leaning polls coming out, but another part is that those polls have Obama doing better now than they did before.
Caveats, caveats. Each of these data points has limited value. Plenty of time remains. The threat of worldwide economic disaster looms. But it sure looks like the Obama campaign is doing what it has wanted to do: convince voters unhappy with the state of the economy and ready to turn out Obama that Romney is not the answer.