The barrage of negative ads painting Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, as a wealthy, tax-avoiding aristocrat is working for President Obama. With just a few weeks before the national conventions and the official kick-off of the fall election season, a spate of new polls shows Obama leading Romney by a range of 7 to 13 points.
A few weeks ago, the two candidates were virtually deadlocked. That was before team Obama unleashed a strategy attacking Romney for not releasing more than two years of tax returns, challenging his absence from Bain Capital while he signed SEC documents as CEO, and accusing him of tax policies that favor the rich and hurt the middle class.
According to results from a CNN/ORC International poll, Obama is ahead of Romney by seven points, 52 percent to 45 percent. A Reuters/Ipsos survey also showed Obama leading by 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent.
Not just national surveys are looking good for Obama. A CBS/New York Times poll shows the president is also enjoying a lead in all but one of the key battleground states: Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin, Romney’s only bright spot was a five-point lead in Colorado, a state where the president is investing a lot of time and resources.
The CNN poll was not all good news for Obama. More Americans believe the economy is getting worse. According to the CNN Political Unit, “Optimism about how things are going in the country now is at 36 percent, down seven points from April. And 63 percent say things are going poorly, up six points from April.
Even so, in a reversal from May, voters in the CNN poll would have more confidence in the economic recovery if Obama were reelected rather than Romney, even though their confidence in the economy is waning.
The CNN poll conducted August 7 to 8 comes on the heels of the Labor Department’s July jobs report, showing that employers added 163,000 jobs. That was more than twice the job growth in the previous month, and substantially more than Wall Street analysts had forecast. The underlying trends in the report were unimpressive, however. And Romney’s campaign organization was quick to point out that the unemployment rate ticked up 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.
There was something else in the CNN poll that gave Obama supporters something to cheer about: Sixty-three percent of the respondents agreed with the president that Romney should release more than two years of his income tax returns.