First off, and most awfully for the GOP candidate, Romney is playing third-fiddle to a huge natural disaster story. While President Obama is in charge of the nation's emergency response to the destruction caused by Sandy Frankenstorm, Romney isn't even the most visible Republican in the news right now.
That would instead be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and he's praising President Obama as his new partner in salvaging the Garden State from complete devastation.
And now, days before the election, comes news that President Obama has finally erased the big national lead Mitt Romney had enjoyed for almost a month, since Obama's horrible first debate performance. RCP national poll averages now show Obama in a tie with Romney, with the trend definitely pro-Obama. [NOTE: Obama had a brief RCP poll average advantage October 19-21.]
In the key state battles, the poll-average news is even worse for Romney:
Ohio—Obama's lead is widening. If the polls are correct, Romney has no chance here. And if he has no chance in Ohio, Romney's chances in terms of electoral vote wins are few.
Virginia—Romney still holds a slight .5% edge, but he has lost a big bump he got from Obama's third-debate battleship comment. Post-Sandy (mostly approving) focus on the President's leadership in the storm response may push Virginia for Obama. Again, if that happens, Romney's presidential hopes are doomed.
Florida—For weeks, pundits have said Florida is over for Obama, but Romney's post-first-debate surge has slowly ebbed away, until he is at the point where he could lose Florida to Obama on November 6th. While that still seems unlikely, the fact it's a possibility at all, is a sign of Romney misplaying the state.
Typical of the bad key-state polling for Romney at this stage is Virginia, a state which should not be in play, and indeed was not in play just a few days ago, after Barack Obama's dumb "battleship" gaffe (not of course seen as that initially, but it was). However, Obama quickly recovered from the mistake, and while Romney still has a slight lead, Obama is again in position to take this important state, which if it happens would only worsen the beating Romney appears set to suffer on Tuesday.
Naturally, if Obama takes all three of these key states, Romney won't just lose, he'll be beaten like an old rug. On the other hand, even if Romney takes all three key states, Obama would still have reasonable paths to victory.
While it is true Obama's seeming exhaustion in the first debate was an iconically catastrophic performance politically—throwing away a huge advantage over his GOP opponent up to that point—Romney's inability to take that amazing gift and do anything other than now look about ready to lose states he should have always had in his queue, is a sign once again of what a bad candidate Mitt really is.
Now, even Colorado is in play, and some are posing the possibility of Obama once again taking North Carolina. The latter seems unlikely at this point, but again, the Romney national surge is dead, and one might argue that Sandy Frankenstorm will be the stake through the heart of GOP presidential aspirations in 2012.