It hardly makes sense that Obama could come out a disastrous convention followed by disappointing job numbers and then surge to a four point lead but he did. Better yet from his point of view his approval rating is at level he had not seen since the killing of bin Laden. Does anyone really believe the president is doing a better job than before the convention. There are two near term events that cannot help but can certainly hurt Obama that will play out over the next week or two. The first is the DOJ's inspector general's report will be released Monday. The very best the president can wish for, albeit a very long shot, is that the report will completely exonerate the ATF of any culpability in the Fast and Furious scandal. The worse case is the inspector general finds wrong doing that is being hidden from congress by virtue of Obama's claim of executive privilege. That could get very nasty fast.
The second event, which is already past the legal deadline, the White House must report to the congress exactly were it intends to cut spending as mandated by the debt limit agreement which he signed into law. That report was due last Friday but as usual the administration has a hard time following the law. Revealing the mandated cuts can only cause relief to areas that are not cut but see how high the president's approval numbers are in districts that lose defense contracts. More than the specific details, the general feeling that things on going in the wrong direction will not be buoyed by these revelations as the country once again is seen by the voters as teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
Notice in the Gallup polls from 1980 that Reagan trailed Carter by 8 % at the beginning of October. Can Romney imitate Reagan's performance? That is probably up to him but it is very but he has a huge financial advantage Reagan didn't have. We shall see.