President Barack Obama heads out of the national political conventions with a much clearer path to winning, top advisers to Mitt Romney privately concede.
The Romney campaign, while pleasantly
surprised by Obama’s lackluster prime-time performance, said the
post-convention bounce they hoped for fell well short of expectations
and privately lament that state-by-state polling numbers — most
glaringly in Ohio — are working in the president’s favor.
“Their map has many more routes to victory,” said a top Republican
official. Two officials intimately involved in the GOP campaign said
Ohio leans clearly in Obama’s favor now, with a high single-digit edge,
based on their internal tracking numbers of conservative groups. Romney
can still win the presidency if he loses Ohio, but it’s extremely
The Obama and Romney campaigns anticipate little movement in national
polls before the first debate on Oct. 3, which both see as the most
important day of this campaign. They also see eye-to-eye on their belief
the election will come down to whether Romney can persuade voters he
understands the problems of ordinary people and that his solutions are
at least marginally better for turning things around economically.