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We got some pretty big polls today from CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac that show Obama running away with things in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. It's looking more and more like Romney's 47% comments have altered this race in a way that may make it very difficult for him to mount a comeback regardless of what he does at the debates.

Originally published at No We Can't Politics.

We got some pretty big polls today from CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac that show Obama running away with things in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. It's looking more and more like Romney's 47% comments have altered this race in a way that may make it very difficult for him to mount a comeback regardless of what he does at the debates.

The numbers are below, followed by my analysis.

* OHIO: Obama 53%, Romney 43% - Obama +4% net since August (CBS/NYT)
* FLORIDA: Obama 53%, Romney 44% - Obama +6% net since August (CBS/NYT)
* FLORIDA: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Insider Advantage)
* IOWA: Obama 51%, Romney 44% - Obama +5% net since August (Public Policy)
* PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 54%, Romney 42% - Obama +1% net since July (CBS/NYT)
* PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 53%, Romney 44% - Obama +4% net since August (Franklin & Marshall)

The leads Obama posts in the CBS/NYT polls of Ohio and Florida are pretty stunning. Is Obama really going to win Ohio by 10%? Probably not, but it has been made abundantly clear by polling over the last two weeks that Obama has a solid lead in Ohio that appears to still be growing. There have also been countless reports that Romney's own internal polls are showing mostly bad news in Ohio. Obama's average lead there across all recent polls is now 5.2%. He has now led in 11 straight polls of Ohio. The state is not really looking like a true swing state at the moment.

The Florida number is just as bad, as it is the largest lead Obama has ever posted in a Florida poll. Obama's average lead in Florida is now up to 3.1% and he has led in seven straight polls of the state.

Some of the internals from the OH and FL poll say it all:

* Obama leads Romney in both states on who will do a better job with the economy -- 51% to 46% in FL, 51% to 45% in OH.
* In FL, 56% of voters think Romney's policies will favor the rich, with just 8% saying they will favor the middle class and 0% saying they will favor the poor. In OH, it's 58% who say Romney will favor the rich while just 9% think he will favor the middle class. Pretty stunning numbers.
* In FL, 57% say Obama cares about your needs, just 41% say the same about Romney. In OH, 59% say Obama cares, 38% say Romney does.
* The gender gap continues to be massive -- Obama leads 58% to 39% among women in FL, 60% to 35% in Ohio.
* 62% of Ohio voters, including 59% of Independents, consider the auto bailout a success.

Pennsylvania continues to look solidly blue this year. That says a lot about Ohio -- which is a similar state in terms of the demographics. If Obama really is up by 10%+ or so in Pennsylvania, it's a safe bet that he is up pretty solidly in Ohio.

Iowa also continues to see a solidification in support for Obama. In the new poll, Romney's favorability/unfavorability is at 40%/55%. That is horrendous for a Presidential candidate in a swing state. His average lead there is now up to 4.8%.

The damage of the 47% comments seems to still be getting worse for Romney, as these poll numbers are his worst yet. Every Presidential election, particularly close ones, have a moment that stands out from the usual political garbage that average voters ignore, and permeates through the electorate. You can't really say for sure what that moment is until after the election. But as we see these poll numbers come in that show Romney doing worse in some of these key swing states than John McCain did in 2008, you have to wonder if the 47% comments were that moment. The fact that Romney released an ad today, speaking directly to the camera and trying to convince people that he cares about everybody, reveals how worried his campaign is about the issue. Their internal polling must be showing the same type of damage that these public polls are showing, otherwise they wouldn't release such an ad. When, like in Ohio, 59% say your policies will favor the rich and just 9% say they will favor the middle class, you have some serious problems on your hands.

Republicans continue to take solace in the fact that the debates still remain, and Romney can use them to turn things around. Technically that's true. But the reality is that Romney, while a solid debater, isn't that strong of a debater to where he can wipe away all these leads simply by doing well at debates. He skated by in the Republican primaries by acting Presidential, facing a very weak field, and trying his best to not get engaged with the candidates he was running against because he was a heavy favorite to win. The few times he was attacked and bullied -- particularly by Rick Perry -- he got very defensive, flustered, and reacted badly (remember the $10,000 bet?). Being behind by this much in key swing states going into the debates is not a good place for Romney to be.

And the other question here is, how big a gap can you even close from a great debate performance? Unless we see some historic-level gaffe or moment at the debates, a great Romney debate performance may help narrow some of these leads, but it is not going to cause a 5% shift in Ohio on its own. He will need to combine VERY strong debate performances with a clearer, more consistent message that resonates with the middle class, and get help from an Obama gaffe or two.

Nate Silver made a few good points today about the possibility that Romney will need to come up with an alternate path to 270 electoral votes, one that doesn't include Ohio. The auto bailout and the 47% comments have hit Romney particularly hard in Ohio and it is beginning to look like a state that may not be within reach for him. The problem for Romney is that with Wisconsin falling out of play, if you give Ohio to Obama, he is already at 265 electoral votes. He would only have to win ONE of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Virginia, or North Carolina to win the election. Romney, on the other hand, would have to win all of those plus New Hampshire to top 270. And the reality is that Romney has never led in a poll of Nevada this year, is solidly behind in Iowa, and is behind in Virginia and Florida as well, with Colorado and North Carolina looking like toss-ups.

There have been rumors that the Romney campaign is considering pulling their money from Ohio to focus on other states, but that move doesn't make much sense to me, as it would essentially amount to conceding the election. The more interesting thing to watch will be how the Republican party and the Republican Super PACs react. If they begin to shift money in a state like Ohio from Romney to Senate and House races, it will tell us all we need to know about where the state stands. With Republicans in a free-fall of sorts in Senate races, one would have to assume (though we don't have much data to confirm) that there is a Democratic shift going on in House races too. Many, including Mark Halperin this morning, speculated that the House may be in play now. If that is the case, the GOP will need to allocate its money to salvage what they can.

Originally published at No We Can't Politics.

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