Mitt Romney is seizing the right kind of momentum at the wrong kind of time.
Over the past month, the former governor of Massachusetts has seen a dramatic rise in general-election match-ups with President Obama, even as he continues to underwhelm in GOP primary polls.
That might be explained partially by Obama’s falling approval numbers, but not entirely. If Romney’s rise were merely a function of Obama’s fall, then the president’s other potential GOP opponents would be seeing a similar rise. But they’re not.
And while some might discount polls so early in the process, they are beginning to tell an important story — one with lasting implications.
Romney’s gains have come both at the state and national level, and include such key battlegrounds as Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania — three states Obama won in 2008.
The wrinkle to all this is that he continues to struggle living up to his front-runner status in the GOP primary, even as he makes gains in the general-election match-ups.
These polls suggest we’re seeing the first hard numbers backing up a point pundits have been making for some time — that Romney might have a tougher time winning the GOP primary than the general election.
The reason for that? As always, Romney’s troubles come down to his healthcare program in Massachusetts, which Fox’s Brit Hume described as the “millstone around his neck” because of its similarities to Obama’s.