New polling numbers in key states that show President Obama in the lead really have little to do with the president or the economy performing any better.
They instead reflect the clear impact of Mitt Romney and his campaign performing badly.
A Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS News poll in Wisconsin, for example, now shows the president up by 6 points, 51-45, among likely voters and up by 17 points among voters asked which candidate cares more about the needs and concerns of average folks.
This, of course, is a state in which Romney sought a boost by picking Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Again, it’s not likely Obama is somehow suddenly winning hearts and minds in cheese-head land; it’s more likely Wisconsin voters, like the rest of America, are watching the Romney campaign – to be kind – under perform.
From the no-bump convention in Tampa to the quick-draw gaffe after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya to reports of widespread conservative griping about Romney’s message, or lack of it, to Romney’s beaten-to-death 47% remarks, there is little good news lately for the GOP candidate.
A new Fox News poll, for example, says the president is now ahead in the key states of Ohio (by 7 points), Virginia (by 7 points) and Florida (by 5 points), among likely voters.
The fact that all of this is happening as the economy remains stagnant and unemployment remains high and unrest in the Middle East and the Muslim world remains in the news indicates just how badly the Romney campaign is being received.
Can that change before Election Day?
Of course. Other blow-ups, domestic, economic or foreign, could occur. The debates could benefit Romney if for no other reason than he’ll enter at least the first debate with low expectations. And the general electorate seems more uneasy (about everything) than normal.
Elections often are decided by moments, by windows than open quickly and can close just as fast.
Right now, Romney supporters face a moment when their candidate’s window is both closed and opaque.
But he and his campaign created this moment by gaffes and by telling America only what’s wrong with its current leadership and direction.
If Mitt and company can’t offer more than that then neither the president nor the economy will have to perform any better for Obama to win another four years.