It must have been a cold night last night at the White House as the president and his campaign bosses watched polls roll in from the Arkansas and Kentucky Democrat primaries. My post yesterday detailed my advice to the Romney campaign and called for optimism among the Republican party faithful. The results of yesterday's two primaries are good evidence that there is great reason for optimism.
Just weeks ago, the president was able to scrape together 60 percent of the vote against a convicted felon currently serving a prison sentence in Texas. Embarrassing, sure. But at least until yesterday this strange event might have been written off as an anomoly by the campaign's talking heads. Unfortunately for President Barry, red flags are popping up all over the south. In a two way race in Arkansas the president was still only able to earn 60 percent of the vote against his obscure opponent. For perspective, Mitt Romney won his four-way race in that primary with nearly 70 percent of the vote against three well known opponents.
But none of that is as pleasing than the results of the Kentucky primary where Mr. Obama again clawed his way to 60 percent of the vote, losing 4 in 10 voters to...nobody. In the blue grass state, Democrat primary voters preferred "uncommitted" 4 out of 10 times. Does the fact that these are southern states that would probably vote Republican in November anyway make the outcome any more comforting? They certainly shouldn't. While each of these three states did, in fact, vote Republican in 2008, there are three other southern states that Obama won in 2008 (Florida, Virginia and North Carolina) that could be in play if yeterday's primaries are signs of growing unrest among southern Democrats.
In Florida, where the president won by just 3 points in 2008, the latest poll now shows Mitt Romney leading by six points, due in no small part to the president's recent "evolution" on gay marriage. And in North Carolina, where Mr. Obama won with only 50 percent of the vote four years ago and the DNC plans to hold its nominating convention this year, the state party has been plagued by recent scandal, casting doubt on the president's hopes of building on his 2008 lead.
All of this should give hope to conservative voters who have convinced themselves that Barack Obama isn't beatable this year. The rumors are false. Mitt Romney can win. Indeed, in this political and economic environment, he has no excuse for losing.