Mitt Romney leads President Obama slightly in this morning’s Politico/GWU poll of likely voters, which may not mean a whole lot at this point. But, during a time when Obama should be at an advantage (his opponent just came out of a bruising primary battle), Romney’s lead with independent voters and the fact that Republicans are quickly coalescing behind him is promising for his campaign:
The former Massachusetts governor has opened up a 10-point lead, 48 percent to 38 percent, among independents in a poll conducted Sunday, April 29 through Thursday, May 3 and a 6-point lead among those who describe themselves as “extremely likely” to vote in November. Obama led Romney by 9 points overall in Politico’s February’s poll. …
A full 91 percent of Republicans support Romney, slightly exceeding the percentage of Democrats who support Obama.
The concern that Romney’s moderate record would hamper party unity hasn’t played out, at least not according to this poll. Another good sign for Romney: He now leads by nine points with independent women voters, a significant shift from Obama’s 23-point advantage in February. Those who cautioned Romney to avoid identity politics with women seem to have given wise advice.
Conventional wisdom also seems to be right that Romney will be most successful if he’s able to frame the race as a referendum on Obama’s record. In the survey, 59 percent of likely voters say the country is on the wrong track – and a majority of respondents say they feel this way strongly. Obama’s best bet is if the election is a character choice between him and Romney. Respondents said Obama is more likely to stand up for the middle class and share their values than his opponent – more reasons why the Romney campaign is trying to avoid any debates about who the “nicer” candidate is.