- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Liberal television networks and newspapers won’t tell you this, but the election is gradually slipping away from President Obama. As the latest Gallup poll reports this week, Republican challenger Mitt Romney has pulled ahead nationally by 2 points. According to the Associated Press, Mitt is ahead with the all-important independent voter by a sizable margin of 41 percent to 30 percent. In a year when the election is all about the economy, stupid, support for the president’s economic policies and handling of deficits is in the 30s. With high unemployment and the economy going nowhere, it would be historically unprecedented for Mr. Obama to be reelected in November.

The former Massachusetts governor got a boost after naming Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, with the pair now leading in the congressman’s very blue home state of Wisconsin. In the 72 hours after Mr. Ryan was tapped, the GOP ticket raised an impressive $7.4 million. The Badger State has gone for Democrats in the last six presidential elections dating to 1988, and cheeseheads gave Mr. Obama a massive 14-point victory against Sen. John McCain in 2008. In the 2010 midterm, however, two statewide offices - governor and U.S. senator - went Republican, and conservative Gov. Scott Walker beat back a serious union-funded recall drive by a comfortable 7 points just two months ago.

Wisconsin going to the elephants is very bad news for Barack. It signals that blue-collar, Rustbelt states like Pennsylvania and Michigan are in play and is consistent with a gradual shift in momentum toward Mr. Romney in other key battlegrounds. Mr. Romney is winning in Florida and tied or within the margin of error in Colorado, Virginia and Ohio. There is no realistic electoral roadmap to the White House for Mr. Romney without the Buckeye State, but popular Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman are helping their party’s standard-bearer make headway there.

Mr. Romney can expect another surge of support from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., next week. The GOP base is unified behind its ticket and optimistic about the political fight ahead in a way it wasn’t four years ago. It’s not necessarily the case that Democrats will get the same boost from their convention as they have struggled with fundraising and even cancelled a whole day of events due to a lack of interest. According to Rasmussen Reports, only 29 percent of likely voters think America is heading in the right direction. That makes it a safe bet that someone new will be sitting in the Oval Office next year.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).