It is, of course, way too early to get cocky. But Republicans have to be happy with the way current polling is going. In this morning’s tracking poll at Rasmussen Reports, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by a stunning 50%-42%. Rasmussen’s matchup is a rolling three-day survey and Obama announced his flip-flop on gay marriage on Wednesday afternoon. So this morning’s poll would consist overwhelmingly of people who have heard that news. Still, it is important to note that Romney was already starting to pull away before gay marriage entered the picture. Here is the history of Rasmussen’s Romney vs. Obama polling:
Romney’s surge is due to the public’s perception of Obama far more than to anything Romney is doing. Currently, Rasmussen finds that only 44% of likely voters approve of Obama’s performance, while 55% disapprove. And Obama is at his lowest point in six months in Rasmussen’s Approval Index, the difference between the number of voters who strongly approve of his performance and those who strongly disapprove:
-22 is a dismal number. Again, some of this is due to Obama’s turnabout on gay marriage, but in my judgment it owes more to voters’ deepening pessimism about the economy. As the months drag by and the economy stays awful, voters are simply giving up on Obama and his administration.
There is a long way to go until November, and no doubt we will see polls between now and then that will tilt the other way. But at this juncture, it appears that the elements are in place for a big GOP year.