Mitt Romney has catapulted ahead of President Obama among likely voters nationwide, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center. Perhaps predictably, Romney's surge has caused no shortage of consternation among Obama's supporters. "Devastating, just devastating," laments Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. "I've never seen a candidate self-destruct for no external reason this late in a campaign before. ... A sitting president does not recover from being obliterated on substance, style, and likability in the first debate and get much of a chance to come back. He has, at a critical moment, deeply depressed his base and his supporters and independents are flocking to Romney in droves." However, even if Romney's national lead holds up, the electoral math says his chances of winning the presidency are slim-to-none without the battleground state of Ohio, where Obama enjoyed a sizable lead before the debate. Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg at The New York Times break down Romney's latest plan to win the Buckeye State's 18 electoral votes:
Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney are both visiting Ohio on Tuesday, the final day of voter registration here, but Mr. Romney is sticking around for one of his most intensive bursts of campaigning yet. His increased presence is a response to pleas from state Republican leaders to invest more time and attention in the regions where he needs to turn out voters…
Mr. Romney’s problems here have included the Obama campaign’s success at defining him to many voters over the summer as an out-of-touch corporate raider, as well as a state economy that has been more vibrant than the country’s over all. With both the state and national unemployment rates now below 8 percent, Mr. Romney may have less opportunity than he did earlier this year to convince voters when he asks them in his new ad, "The question Ohio families are asking is 'Who can bring back the jobs?'"
That's why the most important polls to look for in the coming days may be those coming out of Ohio. "If Romney can't make great strides toward closing the gap [in Ohio], it's very possible everything else will be moot," says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. Indeed, tweets Political Wire's Taegan Goddard:
We're all waiting for Ohio polls to see if the race really changed... pwire.at/QQI5Il
— Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire) October 9, 2012
Well, stay tuned, advises CNN's Peter Hamby:
CNN/ORC will be releasing a poll of likely Ohio voters at 4PM EST.
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) October 9, 2012