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2012: Obama expands his lead

The latest polls: A new round from the New York Times/CBS/Quinnipiac: In Florida, Obama’s up 9, 53-44%, in Ohio, it’s Obama by 10, 53-43%, and in Pennsylvania, Obama’s up 12, 54-42%.

National: Bloomberg has Obama up 49-43% among likely voters.

The reason for Obama’s lead – Romney’s likability scores. “‘If I have to choose between the two, I prefer Barack over Mitt,’ said Stephanie Martin, a 41-year-old insurance agent in Glasgow, Virginia, who describes herself as a libertarian. ‘I think Mitt Romney is just so out of touch. It’s mostly a protest against him and the Republican establishment; it’s not that I think Obama has done such a great job.’”

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “This race could be a referendum on Obama -- except that Romney hasn’t given people reasons to say ‘yes’ to him.”

Political Wire: “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 54% of Americans have unfavorable views of Mitt Romney's comments -- caught on film at a fundraiser -- regarding the ‘47 percent’ of people who pay not federal income taxes and simply would not vote for him. Just 32% saw them favorable. In addtiion, 61% of all Americans ‘express negative views of how Romney is running his campaign. That number is up significantly from July -- the near-certain result of the much-publicized comments by Romney.’”

And: “A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds 72% of Americans think President Obama's health care law will go fully into effect with some changes, ranging from minor to major alterations,” Political Wire writes.

Steve Lombardo: “The problem for the Romney campaign is that the president's lead in several of those states is slowly moving beyond the margin of error. If the current trajectory continues, we may have to move three or four of those states into the ‘lean Obama’ column within the next week. With just 42 days to go before Election Day, this is Barack Obama's race to lose.”

Charlie Cook: “The presidential race remains remarkably stable, which is good news for President Obama and Democrats and bad news for Mitt Romney and Republicans. This race is certainly not over; with three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate to go and two upcoming unemployment reports — and all against a backdrop of a very unstable world — it’s not hard to conjure up scenarios that could change the trajectory of this election. But a change of the trajectory is exactly what would have to happen for Romney to win; his current one simply doesn’t intersect with Obama’s before Nov. 6. Leading Democratic and Republican pollsters and strategists privately say that the Obama lead is around 4 or 5 points and is neither widening nor narrowing. The convention bounces have dissipated, but Romney’s negatives remain quite high and are not diminishing.”

The Washington Monthly has published a new ebook, “Elephant in the Room: Washington in the Bush Years,” to argue how the 2012 presidential election is still being shaped by George W. Bush. The magazine’s Paul Glastris writes, “We are still feeling the reverberations of the Bush years — in an unfinished war, an enduring recession, and the long shadows of Supreme Court appointments and decisions. And the possibility of a new period of unified GOP control of Washington, in 2012 or 2016, remains very real.”