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Why Mitt Romney trails in polls, as presidential debates begin (+video)

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“After their convention, the Democrats closed the enthusiasm gap in most polls with Republicans, which would then give Obama a boost,” says Karlyn Bowman, an expert on polling at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington. “Though I still think it’s a close contest.”

All along, she says, the Obama vote has been more pro-Obama than anti-Romney, whereas the Romney vote has been more anti-Obama than pro-Romney.

Analysts see additional reasons for the shift in the race:

There are simply more Democrats than Republicans. That was already the case in 2008, and as the nation becomes increasingly diverse ethnically and racially, that builds the Democratic base, since these minority groups tend to vote Democratic. African-Americans will vote nearly totally for Obama; Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority group in the country, back Obama 2 to 1, as they did in 2008.

In short, the Republican Party has a demographic crisis on its hands, which will only get worse if serious action isn’t taken. If Romney loses, watch for a period of soul-searching about minorities after the election.

Voters tend to “come home” as Election Day nears. As expected, people who don’t consider themselves solid Democrats or Republicans but lean in one or the other direction are starting to make firm decisions about their vote – and they’re reverting to their usual choice.

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