6. Keep paying attention to Mr. Obama’s approval ratings. In the early stages of general election campaigns, a president’s approval ratings have often been at least as accurate a guide to his eventual performance as the head-to-head numbers. Thus, for at least the next couple of months, I would pay as much attention to Mr. Obama’s approval ratings as his head-to-head polls against Mr. Romney.Obama is sub-50% in most polls and has been down as low as 43%. Those aren't re-elect numbers.
It is probably slightly better to look at Mr. Obama’s net approval rating — his approval less his disapproval — than the approval rating alone.
I still think there will be a "Carter" effect as we get close to the election. Carter and Reagan were still pretty close in the polls until the final stages of the election. The actual results were a completely blowout. When people finally had to make a choice they just couldn't stand the idea of another four years of an incompetent president. I think the same will happen this year.
And once you're in the voting booth nobody can call you a racist for voting for the other guy. The pressure for political correctness is off.