The Romney campaign released a memo Monday warning supporters against reading too deeply into the latest polling numbers, which show President Obama pulling ahead of the GOP nominee.
“Don't get too worked up about the latest polling,” Romney pollster Neil Newhouse wrote in the memo. “While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly. The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race.”
Romney didn’t receive much of a bump following the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., late last month. But the daily tracking polls from Gallup and Rasmussen show Obama now holding a 4- and 5-percentage-point lead, respectively, after last week’s Democratic National Convention.
Obama also has an advantage in most of the swing states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the election, leading many analysts to conclude that the president has a wider path to an Electoral College victory.
But Newhouse argued that the Romney campaign’s internal analysis shows it has advantages on a number of fronts that are not reflected in the polls.
“The battlefield has actually expanded, not contracted,” Newhouse wrote. “Note that Wisconsin is now in play and our campaign is now up with ads in that state, while the latest poll numbers from the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico show the race closing there.”
Obama leads by almost 9 percentage points in New Mexico, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. And while the addition of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to the GOP ticket boosted Romney in the Badger State, Obama still leads there by 1.5.
But Newhouse pointed to another swing state, North Carolina, as a reason for optimism. The Democrats just held their national convention in Charlotte last week, but Newhouse said “the Obama campaign is laying the groundwork for a stealth withdrawal … in a state the president won by a mere 14,000 votes in 2008.”
Romney leads by 1.8 in North Carolina, according to the RCP average.
Newhouse also presented historical data as evidence that the candidate leading in September doesn’t always win in November.
“Political campaign historians will recall President Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by a near-double-digit margin late in the fall in 1980,” he said. “In that race, the voters made their decision based on the key issues confronting the nation and it determined the outcome. On the economy, the most important issue of this race, Mitt Romney leads by 51 percent to 45 percent, according to the most recent CNN/ORC poll.”
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt challenged this assertion over Twitter, saying that unlike Romney, Reagan had a positive favorability rating.
“Romney camp again invokes Carter-Reagan in memo,” he tweeted. “Problem is, Carter and Romney both underwater all year. Opposite true w/ Reagan and Obama.”
Romney was dogged by a historically low favorability rating throughout the primaries, while Obama’s personal likability persists as one of his strongest assets.
The Newhouse memo concluded by saying the Romney campaign possesses a “new money advantage,” a superior ground game and an advantage in enthusiasm.
“Mitt Romney will be the next president. The outcome of this race will ultimately be determined in favor of Gov. Romney because he has the better leadership skills, the better record and the better vision for where he wants to take the country,” he wrote. “The combination of having the superior candidate, being in a margin-of-error race with an incumbent president, having a cash advantage and having an unprecedented grassroots effort and a winning message on the economy ensure that Americans will make a change in leadership in Washington on Nov. 6.”