I owe you something cheery after yesterday’s descent into eeyorish madness.

On the one hand, the economy’s supposed to be our big advantage, right? Maybe … not so much:

That’s a nifty example of why Democrats are so keen to frame the election as a choice between two visions rather than as a referendum on The One. Viewed in isolation, his economic program is shinola and voters know it. The key for lefties is making sure they don’t view it in isolation. On the other hand, there’s this:

The second data set shows the results when voters are asked whether they’d definitely or never vote for Obama. The column for independents is eyepopping, especially when you consider that they split evenly at 37 when the same question is asked about Romney. Problem is, Fox used such a small sample of indies for this poll that the margin of error for the subgroup ended up being eight percent. That’s why Romney merely ties O overall at 46 percent even though he wins independents by 13 points — there simply aren’t enough of the latter in this sample to make up for Obama’s enormous lead among Democrats. (The sample splits 44D/38R.) Even so, it’s worth paying attention to this metric going forward. How many anti-Obama votes are already banked among independents? And how many of them who claim they’ll never, ever, evah vote for O will rethink if we end up with two or three straight months of solid job growth?

Speaking of which, go read Jay Cost on the perils of trusting polls in an era when 90 percent of the electorate is split between the parties and locked down on each side, leaving the fate of the country in the hands of 10 percent who don’t pay much attention to politics and maybe don’t know what they’re talking about a lot of the time. Quote: “They are at the least fickle and at the worst maddening, as they regularly tell pollsters they have settled opinions when in fact they do not!” Makes those “I’ll never vote for Obama” results a little harder to interpret, huh? Oh, and here’s the Virginia poll from Rasmussen showing Mitt up by a point. We’re expected to take that state this time, I think. It’s in the same group as Indiana and North Carolina, just purple enough to break for a Democrat when everything’s going their way but a mighty heavy lift under normal-ish circumstances. That’s the difference between 2008 and 2012, I hope.

Exit question: How’s everyone out there feeling about this strategy?

“There is a pretty broad view that President Obama is a good family man and decent guy, but may be in over his head,” said Mr. Gillespie, a former counselor to George W. Bush, who was brought into the Romney campaign this month. He said the argument against re-election would be built around the suggestion that Mr. Obama “has not displayed strong leadership, but failed leadership and weak leadership.”

Update: Just as I’m writing this, the “Purple Poll” is out with data from battleground states. Romney’s up two in Florida and is tied in Colorado but trails narrowly in Virginia and Ohio. His favorable rating in CO, VA, OH, and FL, respectively:

Second look at the likability gap?