If you listen to their stump speeches and watch their campaign ads, you might think President Obama and Mitt Romney don't have much in common.
Both candidates are in a tough predicament when it comes to how voters perceive their major policy proposals, according to the results of a new ABC News-Washington Post poll out today.
For example, 48 percent of Americans view Romney's proposal to reduce federal tax rates by 20 percent favorably compared to 39 percent who see it unfavorably. Support for repealing the Obama administration's signature health care reform law is split down the middle - 40 percent favorable to 40 unfavorable.
Notably, more independents view Romney's pledge to repeal "Obamacare" unfavorably by a 47 percent to 33 percent margin and these voters are about evenly split on the former Massachusetts governor's tax plan.
Recall that last week's ABC News poll showed President Obama unable to break the 50 percent favorability threshold on a number of his administration's key priorities: the auto industry bailout, greater regulation of financial institutions and the economic stimulus program. http://abcn.ws/J2FfhW
Today's results put "Romney in a similar bind as Barack Obama, with results that mark both candidates' difficulties breaking beyond partisan and ideological boundaries to marshal majorities for their positions," notes ABC News pollster Gary Langer.
Ultimately, it means that both candidates are going to rely more on negative attacks against their opponents rather than promoting their own positive policy agendas. Get ready for a six month onslaught.
GOP AIR SUPPORT: CROSSROADS LAUNCHES MONTH LONG, $25 MILLION AD CAMPAIGN. Crossroads GPS, the grassroots arm of the Karl Rove founded conservative mega-group, is rolling out a month long advertising campaign against Barack Obama. The group is spending $25 million on the ad buy. The AP's Philip Elliot reports "Crossroads GPS plans to open the effort Thursday by spending $8 million on a TV ad that castigates Obama on the economy by using his own words against him. 'We need solutions, not just promises,' says a 60-second commercial that's to run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia." http://apne.ws/ K73GWt
ABC's AMY WALTER: Deb Fischer's surprise win in Nebraska reminds us that GOP voters are still looking for "outsiders" to come in and shake up the system. Meanwhile, a new report out by the Club for Growth argues that a lot of those 2010 Tea Partiers have already gone Washington. http://bit.ly/Jt8CtH Look for more GOP intraparty fighting for the foreseeable future.
ABC's JONATHAN KARL: The shocking results Nebraska Republican Senate primary last night are a blow to establishment Republicans (who quietly backed state Attorney General Jon Bruning) and the established insurgents (both the Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint backed state Treasurer Don Stenberg). Deb Fischer, a 61-year-old rancher and part-time state Senator, came out of nowhere to win, but she did get one big endorsement in the campaign's final days: Sarah Palin.
ABC's RICK KLEIN: If we all can agree this election is about the economy, the campaigns are calculating that the best economic message is about disqualifying the other guy. Mitt Romney, whose business record is central to his campaign, spent the day in Iowa yesterday talking about President Obama's "prairie fire of debt." And the Obama campaign will lean on Vice President Joe Biden today to attack "Romney economics" that he casts as the middle class being left to "fend for themselves." It's introduction time, and both campaigns are trying to introduce the other side first.
OBAMA: IN THE MONEY. President Obama and Democrats raised a combined $43.6 million in April with sustained financial support from veteran donors while enlisting thousands of new ones, ABC News' Devin Dwyer reports. The monthly haul does not eclipse the president's best fundraising month of the 2012 campaign - $53 million raised in March. But it does keep Obama on pace to top the record-setting total of four years ago. The Obama campaign, Democratic National Committee and two joint fundraising accounts have together now raised nearly $400 million for the president's re-election effort. During the 2008 race, Obama topped $746 million. Behind the impressive sum of cash is an army of nearly 2 million individual contributors backing a second Obama term, officials said. More than 437,000 people donated in April, including 169,500 for the first time. The average donation was $50. "That makes our campaign different, and it's how we're going to build a winning organization across the country," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a video message to supporters. http://abcn.ws/K7zJpd
REPUBLICAN COUNTER-PROGRAMMING: "Barack Obama is still the Fundraiser-In-Chief but even he is struggling to sell the American people on his brand of Hype and Blame that has left millions without jobs, a struggling housing situation and record deficits and debt for future generations," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement.
JON KARL'S VEEPSTAKES RATINGS. There are a slew of running-mate possibilities for Mitt Romney to consider, although most of them are publicly professing disinterest in the job right now, notes ABC's Jon Karl. It's an important decision that can help round out a ticket or be looked back on as a monumental disaster. Karl takes a look through the potential picks: http://abcn.ws/Kf2FKv
The Top-Tier: Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan.
The Second Tier: Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Kelly Ayotte, Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty.
The Wild Cards: Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez, John Thune, Mary Fallin, David Petraeus and Mike Huckabee
DOES ROB PORTMAN SOUND LIKE A RUNNING MATE? ABC News' Gregory Simmons reports just a day after he said he was "better suited" for a job in the Senate, Rob Portman Tuesday "sounded more like Mitt Romney's running mate - using a number of public appearances to promote the presumptive Republican nominee, attack President Obama, and of course, deny that he's interested in the job." http://abcn.ws/Jf3GJg
RYAN: GOP LACKS 'PARTNERS' ON REDUCING DEBT ABC News' John Parkinson reports, "Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House budget committee and a potential running mate for Mitt Romney on the GOP presidential ticket, urged Congress to look beyond party labels as lawmakers scour the country searching for a bipartisan solution to a burgeoning financial crisis, but said that Republicans "don't really have partners" in the effort to reduce the deficit." Parkinson was not asked about the veepstakes during his appearances. http://abcn.ws/Jm9tdQ
JINDAL BLASTS OBAMA: HE 'NEVER RAN A LEMONADE STAND' Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal attacked President Obama for his lack of experience Tuesday, even saying the president had no experience running something as simple as a "lemonade stand" before taking office. "President Obama hasn't run anything before he was elected President of the United States. Never ran a state, never ran a business, never ran a lemonade stand. This job's too important for on the job training," Jindal said during an interview on FOX News Tuesday. http://abcn.ws/K0csFM
NEWT ON RUBIO'S FUTURE: Asked in a Newsmax interview whether he thinks Marco Rubio would make a good VP, Newt Gingrich not only said yes, but also said the Florida Senator has a promising future as a potential president. "Sure. I think he'd make a good president someday. He's a very very smart, very competent person," Gingrich said. http://bit.ly/KucnNz
with ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield ( @LizHartfield)
NEBRASKA SURPRISE. Deb Fischer, a state senator and rancher, pulled off an upset in Nebraska's Republican Senate primary last night, defeating attorney general Jon Bruning who had long been the favorite to win the Cornhusker state. ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield reports that with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Fischer defeated Nebraska attorney general Jon Bruning 41 percent to 36 percent. State treasurer Don Stenberg- the tea party candidate- was in third place with 19 percent. http://abcn.ws/Kf1Wc8
ALSO LAST NIGHT: Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential primaries in Nebraska and Oregon, notes ABC's Chris Good and Elizabeth Hartfield. He picked up 16 more delegates in those two states. Those wins put him at 989, ABC News projects. Romney is expected to reach the 1,144 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination on May 29 when Texas holds its primary.
CHRISTIE AND BOOKER: " I GOT THIS": Chris Christie tried on his acting hat in a new web video released Tuesday night. In the video- a collaboration with Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark for the New Jersey Press Association Legislative Correspondents Club Show- Christie jokes about the VP spot, reports ABC's Arlette Saenz. Booker pretends to field a call from Mitt Romney asking him to consider a spot on his ticket. The Newark mayor tries to turn down the offer and Christie quickly intervenes… "Excuse me mayor," Christie says. "I got this." http://abcn.ws/JRWa4V
BIDEN'S OHIO SWING: Joe Biden kicks off a two day swing through Ohio today, reports ABC's Devin Dwyer. Biden will push a populist economic message - dubbed "Obama economics" - that he'll use to draw sharp contrasts between the president and Mitt Romney. The vice president also plans to offer his first direct, public scrutiny of Romney's record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, according to excerpts of his first speech in Youngstown released by the Obama campaign. http://abcn.ws/ JFLx4x
ROMNEY'S BIDEN PRE-BUTTAL: Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams e-mails The Note: "We welcome the Vice President's attempt to pivot back to jobs and discuss the Obama Administration's record of exploding deficits and high unemployment. Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation. President Obama has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on unsuccessful policies that have not created jobs, burdened future generations with massive debt and resulted in failed investments like Solyndra."
GEORGE W. BUSH: 'I'M FOR MITT ROMNEY.' After months of silence, George W. Bush expressed his support for Mitt Romney on Tuesday. ABC's Matt Negrin caught up with the 43rd president at an event. "I'm for Mitt Romney," Bush told ABC News as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home - the White House. http://abcn.ws/KqkXhD
DNC ABSENT IN WISCONSIN RECALL. Money is pouring into the Wisconsin recall election scheduled to take place on June 5th. The Republican National Committee has committed to helping embattled Gov. Scott Walker, but Wisconsin Democrats are still waiting on financial support from Washington. Politico's Robin Bravender reports, "With just three weeks until the June 5 recall election in Wisconsin, Democrats in the state are still waiting for a check they asked the Democratic National Committee to send. And the Obama campaign hasn't given them any cash, either." http://politi.co/ L4naKJ
NOTED: MOVE ON MOVES IN. Signon.org- the petition site within MoveOn.org- launched a petition demanding financial support from the DNC in the recall. The petition has gained over 45,000 signatures in less than 24 hours, the group reports. The petition says: "There is no more time for the Democratic National Committee to wait-if Walker wins, it would be a huge setback to Democrats in races across the country this year. We need the DNC's support immediately!" View it here: http://bit.ly/KdYWNq
GOP'S GAME OF TELEPHONE. Republicans held a series of conference calls all day on Tuesday, during which they attack Obama on government spending, the national deficit, and the unemployment rate. ABC's Shush Walshe reports that in calls with reporters in the battleground states of Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Colorado, Romney backers blasted the president for his "historic debt and deficit." RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called the president the "undisputed debt king of the last five presidents." http://abcn.ws/ Ju1ZYg
VIDEO OF THE DAY: BILL BRADLEY TO THE RESCUE Former Senator and NBA basketball Hall of Fame-r Bill Bradley may be retired, but he isn't done trying to fix Washington. Bradley sat down with ABC"s Rick Klein and Yahoo!'s David Chalian in the latest edition of Top Line to discuss his new book "We Can All Do Better." They talked about gerrymandering and the problem of money in politics. WATCH HERE: http://yhoo.it/L5Dg6V
@RobertACaro : To be clear: This account will almost certainly never be put to use. It has been reserved, however, "just in case."
@mmckinnon : Romney video "Few In 23 Million" beautifully crafted piece of work. Team R wins round one of the video wars: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/15/obama-s-vampire-economic-attack-ad-against-romney-won-t-work.html
@mattcanter : Great new ad from Elizabeth Warren's campaign. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4RV8WH5wVg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
-Mitt Romney campaigns in St Petersburg, Florida and holds fundraisers in Tampa and Miami.
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV