After Super Tuesday, Romney Has To Go Super Negative On Obama

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a GOP p...

The results from the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicate that Mitt Romney has regained the lead in the Republican primary race just in time for the Super Tuesday contests, when 437 delegates will be in play.

But while the former Massachusetts governor may have reclaimed his position as the likely Republican standard bearer, the WSJ/NBC News poll found that nearly four in 10 Americans view Mr. Romney negatively, while only 28% view him positively.

Should he receive the nomination, he will still need to overcome the lowest approval ratings garnered by either party’s likely nominee since Bob Dole in 1996.

Meanwhile, President Obama  is in a stronger position than he has been in months, thanks to increasing levels of support from white women, Midwesterners and white, blue-collar Americans.

President Obama’s approval rating climbed to 50% in the poll, as economic optimism is on the rise – with a clear  majority (57%) of voters saying that the “worst is behind us.”

Meanwhile, the president – while still vulnerable, particularly among the white working class –now holds a narrow six-point lead over Romney  (50%-44%) as the prospective GOP nominee and leads Romney by nine percentage points among the most enthused voters.

Should Romney receive the nomination, he is going to have to do what he did to Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – which is to use Super PACs to fund an aggressive television commercial and targeted direct mail campaign to attack Obama and his record.

Put simply, with his negatives as high as they are and a protracted and  bitter primary race that has divided the Republican party, the only way he can strengthen his candidacy is by making Obama as unacceptable as possible.

But rest assured, as soon as it is clear that Romney has secured the nomination, the millionaires and billionaires who have been bankrolling the GOP primary race will have one singular focus: beating Obama.

Put simply, by dominating political communications, Super PACs are becoming more important than individual candidates — whose campaigns simply cannot compete with their resources.

Going forward, these mega-donors and special interests will undoubtedly continue to have a predominant, and arguably determinate, influence on the 2012 election.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist, Fox News contributor, and author of several books including the forthcoming “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond” (Rowman and Littlefield). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.