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realclearworld

The 99 days

We have 99 days left until the most important election of our lifetimes. I won't make any predictions yet, but I'm feeling more and more confident every day.

With less than 100 days until the election, Governor Mitt Romney is in the launch position for a vigorous fall campaign with the stars aligning for success in November. Okay, okay. The London trip did start out a little rough, but consider the following:

Gallup tracking poll shows the Governor in a dead heat with President Obama, tied 46 percent even among registered voters. And this is after a negative TV blitz of immense proportions unleashed by the Obama campaign against Romney.

However, Rasmussen's tracking poll of "likely voters" reveals Romney beating Obama 49-44 percent with only 4 percent undecided. "The numbers are similar to the 49% to 43% advantage Romney enjoys on the question of who is trusted more to handle the economy."

Rasmussen puts a lot of emphasis on the declining economy as impacting the President's reelection prospects. While Obama's numbers are very much like President George W. Bush's in 2004 at this juncture in the campaign, "the underlying trends were moving in his direction" -- President Bush's that is.

On Friday the New York Times reported that "The United States economy grew by a tepid 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, losing the momentum it had appeared to be gaining earlier this year" according to government figures. The previous quarter saw the economy grow by a 2 percent annual rate. This economy is going nowhere, fast; and the President seems to have run out of cartridges in terms of any new economic ideas. Of course, the jobs picture is still dismal.

Interestingly, Rasmussen observes that 21 percent of likely voters favor an increase in government spending, but "three times as many (64%) think the government should cut spending to spur economic growth," a policy preference that breaks in favor of Governor Romney and the GOP.

Still, President Obama averages a 1.2 percent lead for all polling to date as calculated by RealClearPolitics. He also holds an inside-the-margin-of-error lead in most, but not all, of the battleground states. So the Governor and the Republicans will have to maintain a full-court press through the beginning of November.

But another troubling sign for President Obama, and a corresponding boost for Governor Romney, is the "enthusiasm gap" documented by the Gallup organization for USA Today. Democrats, it seems, are "significantly less likely now (39%) than they were in the summers of 2004 and 2008 to say they are 'more enthusiastic about voting than usual' in the coming presidential election." Republicans, on the other hand, are more enthusiastic now than in 2008, and the same as in 2004 at 51 percent.

Enthusiasm tends to pick up in the post-primary season and is, no doubt, subject to fluctuations and the tempo of the respective campaigns. But given the intensity and acrimony of the Republican primary, this high level of enthusiasm, pre-convention, is a very good sign for Governor Romney. [...]

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