Ten polls have been concluded since Rick Santorum effectively ended the Republican primary by suspending his presidential campaign on April 10th. And despite some seemingly outlier results (CNN has President Obama up 9 points on Mitt Romney, 52 percent to 43 percent), they all paint a strikingly similar picture of the electorate as the general election race begins. Here are five things common to almost every poll:
1. The race is close: If we average out the ten polls, including CNN’s, Obama has a statistically insignificant 2.2 point lead on Romney.
2. Americans are not happy: No matter how you ask the question, Americans are not happy with the current state of their country. According to the Fox News poll, 67 percent of Americans are “not satisfied” with “the way things are going in the country today.” And 61 percent told The New York Times, the country has “seriously gotten off on the wrong track.”
3. The economy is going to be the top issue: Every poll has some combination of the “economy,” “jobs,” or both as the top issue on voters minds. According to Pew, “more than eight-in-ten voters say the economy (86%) and jobs (84%) are very important issues in deciding who to vote for this fall.”
4. Romney is better trusted on the economy: In almost every poll — again CNN is an outlier — Romney is more trusted on the economy than Obama. Even the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which has Obama up 6 points in the head to head match up, has Romney winning on jobs. When asked which candidate has “good ideas for how to improve the economy,” 40 percent chose Romney and only 34 percent chose Obama.
5. Romney is still viewed negatively but more are viewing him favorably: Romney still has net negative favorability ratings in all the polls that asked the question, but he has improved his standing in each one. In March, NBC News showed only 28 percent of Americans viewed Romney positively while 39 percent viewed him negatively. In April, NBC has Romney ticking up to 33 percent positive and only 36 percent negative.
Romney: Romney addressed supporters at a shuttered industrial warehouse in Lorain, Ohio yesterday, in an attempt to highlight Obama’s failed economic policies. “It underscores the failure of this president’s policies with regard to getting the economy moving,’’ Romney said standing in front of a banner that read `Obama Isn’t Working.’ “If you want to know where his vision leads open your eyes.’’
Obama: According to the Associated Press, scandals are taking their toll on Obama: “It isn’t Mitt Romney who’s giving Barack Obama fits as the president moves into re-election mode. It’s those federal bureaucrats carousing in Las Vegas, the Secret Service consorting with Colombian prostitutes and U.S. soldiers posing with bloody enemy corpses. The scandals are taking a toll.”
Super PACs: American Crossroads, the pro-Republican super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and its nonprofit affiliate Crossroads GPS, will announce $100 million raised for both so far through March 31, 2012.
Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, Economic Reports Fan Fears: Rising layoffs, falling home sales and slowing manufacturing activity are sparking fears that the economic recovery is headed for a springtime stall for the third year in a row.
The New York Times, Fears Rise That Recovery May Falter in the Spring: Some of the same spoilers that interrupted the recovery in 2010 and 2011 (rising gas prices and the European debt crisis) have emerged again, raising fears that the winter’s economic strength might dissipate in the spring.
Reuters, Obama oil margin plan could increase price swings: resident Barack Obama’s bid to dampen the influence of oil speculators by having regulators set trading margins could backfire, potentially making prices even more volatile and leaving crude dominated only by those with the deepest pockets.
The Los Angeles Times, House passes 20% tax cut for businesses: Despite a veto threat from President Obama, the Republican-led House approved a 20% tax cut for companies with fewer than 500 employees.
The New York Times, No Power, No Boom: A combination of government subsidies, price controls, and environmental regulations have slowed coal and natural gas development in India, putting the country’s economic growth in jeopardy.
In The Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove explains how Romney can beat the Buffett Rule.
The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost examines whether or not Romney can win back the suburbs.
At The Corner, The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk promotes the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act, which would let employers pay productive employees more than the union rate.
The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein tells us why he thinks America won’t go the way of Europe.
Talking Points Memo‘s Carl Franzen asks What Does The Battle Over California’s High Speed Rail Project Mean For America?
Salon‘s Josh Eidelson explains why Wisconsin unions are backing Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, who trails Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the Democratic primary to recall Gov. Scott Walker.