Opinion Brief

The sputtering economy: Great news for Mitt Romney?

In a new poll, Romney pulls even with President Obama, who continues to be dragged down by grim financial news. Is the bad economy Mitt's ace?

A new 2012 poll shows Mitt Romney, the presumptive frontrunner for the GOP nomination, neck and neck with President Obama, whose post-bin Laden bump vanished in the face of deflating financial news. In the Washington Post-ABC News survey, Obama and Romney were tied among all Americans; among registered voters, Romney led 49 percent to 46 percent. Shrewdly enough, the ex-Massachusetts governor and former venture capitalist is making the economy his campaign's focus, declaring that Obama's policies have exacerbated the downturn. How much of an edge will the issue give him?

The economy makes Romney the Republican to beat: Romney's opening economic message "couldn't have come at a better time for him," says NBC News' First Read. Bad economic news "highlights his electability credentials" — seasoned businessman, chief executive of Massachusetts — while it dims Obama's record. On the other hand, Romney's edge makes him the early favorite — and a target for Democrats and his Republican rivals alike."The strong GOP front-runner?"

Actually, financial clouds hurt Romney's chances: Scary economic news would give any GOP nominee, not just Romney, a general-election boost, says Ed Kilgore at The New Republic. And remember, conservative voters may pass over the moderate Romney, who's not their first choice, if Obama's looking vulnerable. "In a worsening economy, it will be much easier for them to vote with their hearts, none of which belong to Mitt.""Hands off"

It all depends on where the economy is on Election Day: President Obama has "spent most of this year insisting that a recovery is under way," says Josh Kraushaar at National Journal, so he'll be on the defensive if the economic pain worsens. Of course, he'll be OK if there's a big turnaround by November 2012, or if "Republicans nominate someone unacceptable to independents and moderates." But in a matchup against Romney in a poor economic climate, the president is no longer the overwhelming favorite."Obama the underdog"

Recommended

Biden's immigration bind
President Biden.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Biden's immigration bind

Democrats' mini-nuke option to stave off economic collapse
Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
Picture of Ryan CooperRyan Cooper

Democrats' mini-nuke option to stave off economic collapse

The Haitian migrant surge, explained
Haitian migrants.
Briefing

The Haitian migrant surge, explained

Drafts of audit report confirm Biden defeated Trump in Maricopa County
Arizona Cyber Ninjas audit.
millions of dollars later...

Drafts of audit report confirm Biden defeated Trump in Maricopa County

Most Popular

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness
Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman
Last Night on Late Night

Jimmy Fallon and Nicole Kidman almost make it through interview without awkwardness

7 cartoons about America's vaccine fights
Editorial Cartoon.
Feature

7 cartoons about America's vaccine fights

Democrats are governing like Republicans
A donkey.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Democrats are governing like Republicans