(original artwork by alex ross)bill o'reilly: i don't understand what the controversy is. i think mr. romney should campaign on this point. if i'm governor romney, i run with this all day long.
sean hannity: it is romney unplugged as the GOP presidential nominee delivers one of his sharpest critiques yet of president obama and the entitlement society that he enables.
stuart varney: i think this will be seen as a win for romney.
pollster nate silver @ fivethirtyeight:after a secretly recorded videotape was released on sept. 17 showing mitt romney making unflattering comments about the "47 percent" of americans who he said had become dependent on government benefits, i suggested on twitter that the political impact of the comments could easily be overstated.
"ninety percent of 'game-changing' gaffes are less important in retrospect than they seem in the moment," i wrote.
... since then, however, mr. obama has gained further ground in the polls. as of thursday, he led in the popular vote by 5.7 percentage points in the "now-cast," a gain of 1.6 percentage points since mr. romney's remarks became known to the public.
it's hard to tell whether this recent gain for mr. obama reflects the effect of the "47 percent" comments specifically. but the most typical pattern after a party convention is that a candidate who gains ground in the polls cedes at least some of it back.
instead, the more pertinent question seems not whether mr. obama is losing ground, but whether he is still gaining it.
... what we can say with more confidence is that mr. romney is now in a rather poor position in the polls.
... the overall story line, however, is fairly clear: mr. romney is at best holding ground in the polls, and quite possibly losing some, at a time when he needs to be gaining it instead. further, it's increasingly implausible for mr. romney to attribute the numbers to temporary effects from the democratic convention. mr. obama's probability of winning the electoral college advanced to 83.9 percent in the nov. 6 forecast, up from 81.9 percent on wednesday.