There is another component in this year’s election that was not in effect during any previous election cycle before: we’re living now in a post-Citizen’s United world. The money that a lot of the Super PAC’s are sitting on is breathtaking - and they also have not yet unleashed their fury. Most of the private Super PAC’s are for the Right, not the Left. So in addition to the Romney Gun$, Obama (and in turn, EVERY Democrat) will have to contend with the groups like American Crossroads and many others just like them. It’s likely to be a barrage that they cannot withstand too successfully.
There’s another consideration too. In many of the polls so far that have vastly oversampled Democrats, Obama loses a fair number of them - which has to be bad for him. A lot of Republicans in 2008 stayed away from the POTUS section of the ballot because of McCain. I think that number was significant. A lot of other Republicans probably voted for Obama because he was black. None of that will matter now. Obama is not the unknown commodity he was prior to 2008. He’s known now. And there is a large number of TEA Party voters who know that while Romney isn’t their first choice, that doesn’t matter this time. The TEA Party voters know all too well what’s at stake. The TEA Party destroyed the Democrats in 2010. And I doubt they will be swinging to Obama anytime soon for any reason. We have to trust there are some things polling doesn’t measure successfully. If Obama himself had been on the ballot in November 2010, is it Rasmussen’s contention that HE would have stopped the slaughter of the Democrats that night? The 2010 mid-terms showed a Repulican advantage in voter registration of just over 1% according to Rasmussen then, and the Democrats were destroyed wholesale at just about every level. Rasmussen says his research shows that same figure to be at 4% in favor of Republicans at his last report in in August 2012- so four times the size of the 2010 number. So I guess if that holds, we’re gonna see how his Democrats +2-4 points into November 2012 will hold up.
I doubt that, especially with Palin on the ticket. Let's keep in mind Obama got 69 million votes and McCain 59 million. In 2004, Bush got 62 million and Kerry 59 million (up from 50 million for each candidate in 2000). I don't think anyone stayed home in 2008. But about 5% of former Bush voters appear to have voted for Obama, plus 7 million brand new voters.
And I believe, unlike with McCain, a significant amount of conservatives will stay home for Romney and that the failure to turn out his base will be his greatest weakness in this election. Social issue voters are often single-issue voters. McCain was a convincing, long-time pro-life, anti-same-sex-marriage candidate. Romney's credentials on those issues are as questionable as they get for any Republican.