Romney sinking fast

Mitt Romney was losing the presidential election before the two national conventions. And with time running short and opportunities to change the campaign narrative dwindling, he’s losing even worse today. 

Romney needed to come out of the conventions with renewed momentum. His own campaign argued that Romney could be expected to match the historical 11-point bounce traditionally enjoyed by presidential challengers, compared to 7 points for the incumbent. 

Those were lofty expectations, and ones that Romney would never be able to meet. Not only is the electorate far more polarized than in past elections, but the number of undecideds is exceedingly small — in the mid- to high single digits. Romney’s incoherent convention didn’t help — his speakers could barely stand to utter his name, more interested in puffing themselves up for 2016. The messaging was incoherent, from the “we built this” mantra that merely repeated exactly what President Obama had said to Clint Eastwood’s hysterically funny prime-time train wreck.

When the dust settled, Romney saw a 1.9-point bump in the polls, but only if you include Rasmussen’s GOP-friendly tracker. Gallup, for its part, found the president gaining 2 points during the GOP convention. 

So it seemed that perhaps the era of the convention bounce was over, with few undecideds to sway, and too few people watching the conventions to matter. In an era of millions of entertainment options, there is always something more exciting on than political speeches. 

Yet Obama came out of his convention with a 5.5-point bounce (which might end up higher, since the Gallup seven-day tracker still includes pre-Democratic convention numbers). A new CNN poll shows Democrats significantly more excited about their candidate than Republicans, while Obama’s favorability numbers have risen to a two-year high of 57 percent favorable, 42 percent unfavorable. Romney, for his part, lagged significantly at 48-47. 

Furthermore, 51 percent to 44, voters agreed with the statement: Obama “shares your values” — a devastating result for a conservative movement that has hinged its anti-Obama attacks on the premise that he is so foreign he can’t possibly understand American values. With Obama leading on virtually every issue, including a 54-42 lead on foreign policy, CNN’s poll is stark evidence that the $150 million Republicans and their super-PAC allies have thrown against Obama in attack ads have failed miserably. 

And most devastating of all for the GOP, that CNN poll was conducted after Friday’s job report was released, dashing hopes that those dismal numbers would swing the race to Romney. 

By all indications, Ohio is getting away from the GOP, with the Obama campaign privately telling reporters at their convention that they were seeing a 9-point deficit in the crucial state — numbers that Republicans have since privately confirmed. As such, a new Public Policy Polling poll showing Obama with a 50-45 Ohio advantage must have come as a relief. 

The Romney campaign has pulled out of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico, leaving itself a much smaller and more difficult playing field. A memo from the campaign’s pollster — devoid of nearly any polling data — claiming that everyone should ignore the latest polling because “the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly” smacked of genuine panic. And with Obama out-raising Romney in August, the money race has swung back to Team Blue.

Given the Romney campaign’s downward spiral, it’s no wonder that even noted conservative media apologist Mark Halperin talks about the “death stench” of the Romney campaign.

Moulitsas is the publisher and founder of Daily Kos (