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President Obama's Poll Numbers

October 14, 2011 - Mike Donahey
For months unemployment figures have been a thorn in the president’s side. And now, new poll numbers offer bad and good news. Friday’s Gallup poll reported Obama trailed a “generic” GOP candidate 46 percent to 38 percent among registered voters. It matched his performance against a “generic” candidate in September, however, he led the same “generic” rival 45 percent to 39 percent in August, according to CBS News.

Regardless of spin applied, the poll is bad news, with the election one year away. However, Obama's team will use the rebuttal generic polls are often unreliable because they compare a known quantity to an unknown quantity. Friday's poll comes on the heels of political commentator James Carville’s comments earlier in the week the current Republican field of candidates is “pathetic.”

Carville is well-known for his bombastic comments and for being a key advisor to former President Bill Clinton during the former president's eight years in the White House. But here is the good news. In September, Gallup reported Obama was tied with Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Romney has been targeted in recent Obama ads and the president’s camp believes he will be the eventual Republican nominee, according to news reports.

The RealClearPolitics website, which reports the results of numerous polls daily, also offered more good news for President Obama. Specifically, Friday’s SurveyUSA poll results taken in Michigan showed Obama beating Romney 50 percent to 39 percent, beating Cain 53 percent to 32 percent and beating Perry 53 percent to 32 percent. The state is kind to Obama as a result of his stimulus package to assist the auto industry there. It is a state the president must win in 2012.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll Thursday pitting the president against Romney in the general election reported Obama winning 46 percent to 44 percent. Many polls have a margin of error ranging from two to five points and that poll’s margin of error was not reported.

Perhaps the most significant comment of the week came from David Axelrod, the president’s chief advisor (and former political reporter) who said the president faced “a Titanic struggle to be re-elected.” But Axelrod, predictably, expects Obama to be re-elected citing the weakness current Republican field.


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