As I’ve been writing this, the link to today’s Rasmussen poll showing Mitt Romney with a growing lead on Obama has gone dead and then come back up (possibly because it’s headlining Drudge), but here’s the relevant part of the findings from HotAir’s Ed Morrissey:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney earning 50% of the vote and President Obama attracting 43% support. Four percent (4%) would vote for a third party candidate, while another three percent (3%) are undecided.
This is the first time Romney has reached the 50% level of support and is his largest lead ever over the president. It comes a week after a disappointing jobs report that raised new questions about the state of the economy.
This is a daily tracking poll, and keep in mind that those tend to be more prone to static. But this is still Romney’s biggest lead on Obama yet, and it does follow a trend. Yesterday’s Rasmussen daily tracker had Romney leading Obama by 4 percent. The two days before that, Romney was up by 5 percent. He was leading by 2 percent on May 7th, one percent on May 6th, and trailed Obama by one point on May 5th. So clearly there has been consistent upward movement for Romney.
But what does it mean? It may be too early to tie it to the gay marriage debate, and the WaPo hit on Romney’s high school pranks probably hasn’t had enough time to seep into the public consciousness yet. So it’s too soon to say that attack has been a failure.
Based on Rasmussen’s report, it could be tied to economic factors. Likely voters are giving Romney much higher marks on the economy than Obama:
Thirty-seven percent (37%) give the president good or excellent marks for his handling of the economy. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he’s doing a poor job. Consumer confidence has slipped four points since last week’s government report on job creation and unemployment. The number who believe their personal finances are getting better slipped from 30% a week ago to 28% today. The number who fear their finances are getting worse increased from 43% before the jobs report to 47% today.
This fits with Gallup’s poll numbers today, which also show Romney with an edge over Obama on economic issues, despite the fact that this subject hasn’t really dominated the political news cycle later. Could it be that the Obama campaign’s attempt to divert the race from economic news to social and cultural issues is actually hurting him with voters? The Obama campaign has spent the past few weeks talking about everything from Romney’s dog to Osama bin Laden to gay marriage, while Romney has remained fairly focused on the economy. Maybe voters view distractions as a lack of seriousness on Obama’s part.