With the long primary battle behind him, Mitt Romney is now highlighting his successful run at turning around the Olympics. According to The Wall Street Journal, the campaign believes that showcasing his prior success sends a positive, unifying message to voters.
Mr. Romney has been talking about the Olympics for months, but his stories have taken on new prominence and are newly used to draw a contrast with Mr. Obama. Olympics stories turned up in almost all of his public events last week and at least one private fundraiser.
The near-conclusion of the GOP primary race is prompting many voters to view the election in a new light, given the clear matchup now between Messrs. Romney and Obama. Romney advisers see this period before the full onset of the fall campaign as a chance to show the candidate in a more positive light after months of a negative primary fight.
Restore Our Future, a super PAC backing Mr. Romney, recently started re-airing an ad that recounts Mr. Romney shutting down his firm and devoting himself and the staff to finding the missing daughter of a business partner. Romney supporters also say they would like to highlight his charitable giving, but advisers say the candidate and his wife, Ann, are reluctant to trumpet their philanthropic endeavors. (Read More)
The article also notes that Romney has tentative plans to attend the 2012 Summer Games in London. The president and first lady were unsuccessful in their efforts to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.
Whether it’s this new focus on past accomplishments, the continued fixation on the economy, or both, it seems to be working. According to The American Spectator, the polls are now moving in Romney’s direction.
Obama led Romney by four points (49 percent to 45 percent) in a late March poll by Gallup, but Romney had squeezed ahead 46-45 in Gallup’s most recent tracking poll. This positive trend for Romney (or, perhaps, this negative trend for Obama) has been mirrored in other polls: Less than a month ago, on April 10, Obama led the Real Clear Politics average of national polls by more than five points (48.5-43.2), but now leads by just over two points. The four most recent national polls show either a tie or Romney narrowly ahead. What about the Electoral College? Romney’s chances look promising there, too. An article in Sunday’s New York Times seemed to find a suspicious amount of optimism for Obama in the key swing states, but could not ignore the fact that the nine crucial battlegrounds — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — are all states Obama won four years ago. In other words, Democrats begin the 2012 campaign playing defense, and there are indications that Obama is already facing a tough fight in many of those battlegrounds. Romney is ahead in the three most recent Florida polls, for example, and the latest poll from Ohio showed the Republican within two points of Obama there. More importantly, the focus on such traditional swing states shows that there is little prospect the Democrats could “spread the field” to challenge Romney in GOP strongholds. (Read More)
A lot can happen between now and November, but these are positive signs.
Update: Stacy McCain, who wrote the AmSpec piece quoted above, has more on the Romney campaign here. Oh, and Arthur Brooks has some advice for them on making the moral case for free markets that’s worth reading.