The Good, Bad, And Ugly: Mitt Romney Winning Middle Class, Losing Seniors, Running Out Of Time [Op-Ed]

COMMENTARY | Taking a good look at Mitt Romney, you can see clearly why he’s not doing so well. He’s clearly stubborn, he’s had several missteps and outright controversies, some say his campaign is tanking, and at the end of the day, the GOP candidate just isn’t all that personable.

Despite all of that, it’s a miracle he’s still in the running, is it not? Some people I know are just dumbfounded that despite all of his glaring flaws and a majority Republican concession that he’s not the ideal candidate, he still has roughly half of the country’s support (even after throwing the other half completely under the bus).

The good for Romney: According to a recent and surprising POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll, Romney is leading with middle-class families. By a lot. 14 points a lot. Though campaigns usually chase students and seniors, the middle class makes up 54% of the total American electorate, and their votes are usually split between Democrats and Republicans. Via Politico:

“Middle-class families are more inclined to believe the country is on the wrong track (34 percent right direction, 62 percent wrong track), are more likely to hold an unfavorable view of Obama (48 percent favorable, 51 percent unfavorable), and hold a more favorable view of Romney (51 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable) and Paul Ryan (46 percent favorable, 35 percent unfavorable) than the overall electorate. These middle-class families also hold a majority disapproval rating on the job Obama is doing as president (45 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove), and turn even more negative toward Obama on specific areas; the economy 56 percent disapprove; spending 61 percent disapprove; taxes, 53 percent disapprove; Medicare 48 percent disapprove; and even foreign policy 50 percent disapprove.”

The bad for Romney: He’s losing seniors (if he ever even had them). Mere weeks after the Democratic National Convention, support for Romney among Americans age 60 and older has slipped dramatically. Though the GOP candidate walked in with a 20-point lead over President Barack Obama, that lead as tightened to less than 4 points, according to Reuters. Romney’s double-digit advantage, particularly on the issues of healthcare and Medicare, have completely evaporated, and President Obama is gaining momentum on those crucial issues.

The ugly for Romney: Constant controversy. Whether we’re talking his response to US Embassy attacks around the world, the shocking Mother Jones tapes, or even this weekend’s (some might argue out of context) illegal campaign charges, the candidate never experiences a quiet day during which he fails to trip over himself. Compare to President Obama, whose cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor translates into quickly forgotten gaffes and controversies (remember when he forgot the dollar amount of the national debt? Me neither).

So why is the race so close? You might argue that it’s not quite as close as it seems, but round two for Obama is hardly a successful sequel to 2008, when he won a clear majority and a public mandate to “fundamentally change” the US. Based on every poll, nearly half of the country is still pulling for Romney despite all of his shenanigans.

So, based on Romney’s leaked tape figures, does 53% of the country favor him? Or do they just dislike President Obama so much that they’re desperate? Are his supporters unintentionally lying to themselves? Are they arrogant?

Those are questions that the POTUS should ask himself if he’s re-elected. He cannot count on the enthusiasm and blessing of the American people this time around. Romney is being criticized for overlooking half of the country. Mr. President, don’t you do the same.