Why Romney trails Obama in new CNN poll

A new CNN poll released just a short time ago shows Obama leading Romney by 9 points (52-43) among registered voters.

That’s a solid lead, well outside the margin of error.

But keep in mind that Romney was beating Obama in a similar poll just 3 months ago, that the election is a long way off, and that the country as a whole doesn’t matter as much as a few key swing states (where Obama is also solidly ahead).

Looking at some of the polling data, it’s easy to see that Romney has not successfully rallied the troops. A strong majority of his supporters (63%) say that their vote is more of one AGAINST Obama than one FOR Romney.

Only 29% of respondents report that they might change their minds, which is still just enough to give the Romney camp a clear path to winning swing votes and defining swing issues.

Still, Romney trails in a breakdown of personality and leadership traits, including likeability (Obama 56%, Romney 27%). Obama even polls slightly better when voters are asked who can get the economy moving again (44% to 42%).

61% of those polled expect Obama to be re-elected in the fall — another sign of the softness of Romney’s support at the moment.

Obama leads among both men (+3) and women (+16). Romney leads among whites (+7), but Obama has a big lead among non-whites (+48).

Romney leads by 2 points among voters over 50 over 65 (while Romney wins the over 50 category, he actually trails in the 50-64 category), but gets buried by those under 50 by 19 points.

Among geographies, Romney leads only in the South and in rural areas:

Despite all the challenges, it’s still entirely possible for Romney to win the election in the fall. But even if he does, we can see clearly in the data that the Republican Party is going to have to do a better job of appealing to a broad cross section of America if it’s going to win national elections. Winning older voters, whites, and southerners will only go so far.