With less than two months to go before the November election, President Obama has built a "structural advantage" in key swing states which makes him the favorite to defeat Republican challenger Mitt Romney, says a prominent Democratic strategist.
Geoff Garin told me that Obama's strength among African Americans, Latinos, unmarried women and young people is translating into a powerful asset in the nine swing states that will decide the election—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These states have 110 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
Obma is leading or competitive in those states. Perhaps most important, the president is ahead in Ohio, which most analysts believe is a must-win for Romney.
Garin says Obama's message of defending the middle class is clearer than Romney's more complicated and "murky" agenda of lower taxes, less regulation, and unspecified but massive cuts in domestic spending.
"Romney is betting on people's frustrations with the bad economy and he's trying to stoke that," Garin told me. But this strategy won't be enough unless Romney couples it with an effective argument that his solutions are better than Obama's, Garin says. Romney has been unable to make that case and he has failed to develop other issues, Garin says, adding: "Romney is still a one-trick pony."
Romney strategists say the election is all about Obama's failure to create enough jobs and strengthen the economy, and they will continue to make this failure the centerpiece of the Republican campaign.