CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- President Obama has an enormous advantage with the key constituencies of African Americans, Latinos, unmarried women, and young people, partly because Republican challenger Mitt Romney positioned himself so far to the right in the GOP primaries and hasn't made much of an effort to court these groups since he locked up his party's nomination, says Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.
Romney has failed to move to the center and speak to "a broader audience," says Greenberg, who advised Bill Clinton both as a candidate in 1992 and as president.
One example cited by Greenberg is Romney's handling of the immigration issue. In the primaries, he took a hard line against illegal immigration and opposed a proposal in Congress to give the children of illegal immigrants an opportunity to remain in the United States legally. One result was that about 70 per cent of Hispanics now support Obama, compared with 60 per cent who did so before Romney took his hard-line stance. Greenberg says Romney is now considered "anti-immigrant" by many Latino voters.
Overall, Greenberg says voters realize that Obama inherited an economic crisis when he took over the White House in 2009 and understand how difficult it has been to solve the problem. "Voters have given him a lot of space," the pollster told U.S. News. And more voters still blame George W. Bush rather than Obama for the economy's problems, Greenbers notes.
But the voters are eager for Obama to present a comprehensive economic plan and don't want any "whining" about what's gone wrong, Greenberg said. "They want to know what you want to do....People want to have a feel for where he would take the country."
Despite his advantages, an Obama victory is still not a sure thing. In an email to reporters written with Democratic strategist James Carville, Greenberg wrote Tuesday that, because of the sour economy, "This is a close presidential race where President Obama and the Democrats need a good convention to get momentum and define the choice in the election to lock in their three- or four-point lead."