OK. Realistically, South Carolina is a reach. But nobody cares about South Carolina, really—it is assumed to be in the red column just as Massachusetts is assumed to be in the blue. But now let’s look at the Florida numbers from the NBC/Marist poll. There Obama is beating both Romney and Gingrich by outside the margin of error. He leads Romney 48-41 and Gingrich 51-39.
Again, all politics is local. Republican Rick Scott is the least popular governor in the United States—right now at 26 percent and still sinking. Scott and Haley are prime examples of governors who were supposed to show a new and better way, with politics forged in the cauldron of Tea Party fervor about an absence of accountability, and so on. But these politicians have turned out to be just like all the old ones, except less competent. And if Obama holds Florida, he can afford to lose—take note of this list—Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and either Michigan or Pennsylvania, and still rack up a winning 270 electoral votes. (Here, go click the states yourself.) But of course, if he’s winning Florida, he’s likely not losing any of those other states, with the exception of Indiana. Indeed, if he’s winning Florida by around double digits, he’s winning Missouri, Arizona, and maybe Georgia (yes, even—I’d say especially—against Gingrich).
Ten months and three weeks is a long, long time. But today’s poll suggests that a wipeout of such proportions is not unimaginable. By a president whose anemic approval rating is just 44 percent! But I am not here to say the GOP had better grow up fast. Quite the contrary. If this tantrum lasts through the election, and if 2012 is for the Republicans what 1984 was for the Democrats, then finally our polity stands a chance of functioning again.