Public attitudes toward candidates and elections often start off in a fluid state. Then they gradually begin to jell, first reaching a semisolid state before hardening to rock-solid. This years presidential race isnt over, but Mitt Romneys current trajectory in the polls will not cross President Obamas by Nov. 6or maybe even Nov. 6 of next year. If something doesnt happen to shake up the race, Romney will lose. Romneys negatives, particularly in swing states, have grown to the point that if allowed to solidify, his opportunity to recover will vanish. The GOP nominee still has a chance to change the trajectory of the campaign, but the longer he takes, the smaller the payoff. Very few undecided voters are left in swing states; campaign pollsters say that maybe 4 or 5 percent of likely voters fit in this category. And no one would be surprised if some of the remaining undecided voters, after being subjected to saturation advertising for monthsin some cases since Junethrow up their hands and opt to stay home on Election Day. If the presidential race stays on its current course for another week or 10 days, Romney faces the very real prospect that Republican donors, super PACs, and other parts of the GOP support structure will begin to shift resources away from helping him and toward a last-ditch effort to win a Senate majoritywhich once seemed very likelyand to protect the partys House majority. A year and a half ago, it looked like Republicans had a 65 to 70 percent chance of capturing the Senate. The 23 Democratic seats up for grabs, compared with just 10 for Republicans, offered the GOP many opportunities for gains, particularly in states that Democrats had captured from Republicans in 2006. Jennifer Duffy, senior Senate editor of The Cook Political Report, now argues that the range of possible Senate outcomes goes from Republicans picking up two or three seats to actually losing a seat or two. The next week or 10 days are thus critical for Romney and the GOP. If things dont turn around, a stampede could ensue reminiscent of 1996, when Republicans realized that Bob Dole was not going to defeat President Clinton. History could repeat itself.