New polls out this week from the Pew Research Center and Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times show the negative attacks on Mitt Romney taking a serious toll.
"By a 52 percent to 37 percent margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney," according to Pew's analysis of the results. "The poll, conducted prior to Romney's recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine months in which his image has been in negative territory."
And forget all the complaints about party identification for these surveys being "too Democratic." The Pollster.com aggregation of all polling since April shows Romney's favorable/unfavorable ratings consistently underwater. As of today, he's seen more unfavorably than favorably by an average of 8 percentage points.
A look at the behavior from the Romney campaign and his allies suggests that they see some of the same things.
First, there are the ads that seek to portray Romney for who he is instead of who he isn't. His success at saving the 2002 Olympics as outlined in an ad paid for by the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future. And his "Believe in Our Future" spot that finally has Romney telling his story in his own voice.
Second, as Byron York, chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner writes, Romney's speech in Colorado yesterday focused as much on his plans for the future instead of just on Obama's failures.
"On Thursday afternoon, there was Romney, addressing supporters in Golden, Colo., in front of a giant banner that said 'ROMNEY PLAN.' In his remarks, Romney criticized Obama; nothing wrong with that. But he laid out his larger purpose at the very beginning. 'Today, I come to talk about making things better,' Romney said, laying out his plan. 'If we do those five things, those simple five things ... you're going to see this economy come roaring back.' 'This is the path to more jobs and more take-home pay and a brighter future for you and your kids,' Romney added. 'And I know that because I've seen it.'"
York notes: "Romney was clear, sharp and focused. If he stays that way, he'll likely quiet some of his GOP critics, at least for a while."
Of course, Romney's "five things" were short on details. But, the idea is an acknowledgement that he needs to start filling in the gaps about who he is and what he believes in before the caricature that Democrats have created ultimately defines him.