The president continues to hover around the 50-percent mark, as increased voter optimism fails to fully allay concern about the economy, according to Bloomberg's latest polling:
Half of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Romney -- a September high for a presidential challenger in the last three decades -- and 49 percent of likely voters consider the former Massachusetts governor out-of-touch compared with 40 percent who say that of Obama in the latest Bloomberg National Poll conducted Sept. 21-24.
Still, Obama heads into the closing stretch of the race with a majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- disapproving of his handling of the economy, and Romney holding a slim edge as the candidate likely voters rate best able to create jobs. The president does have one clear advantage -- his economic plan is breaking through with more Americans, who give him a 48 percent to 39 percent advantage over Romney on having a vision for a successful future.
In the head-to-head contest, Obama leads Romney among likely voters, 49 percent to 43 percent, even as 60 percent of Americans say the nation is headed off on the wrong track as the president completes his first term.
One of the fundamental assumptions of Romney's campaign, all along, has been that voters who feel this negatively about the president's economic performance and the overall direction of the country can't possibly vote to reelect Obama. Either that gravitational force will produce a real change in Obama's numbers as Election Day approaches, or it'll be fair to ask whether that assumption was flawed from the outset.