Polls: Obama’s Winning! Or Maybe Not!April 17, 2012
An obligatory follow-up to¬†last night’s post on Gallup’s tracking numbers: Within hours of that Romney-friendly poll making headlines, CNN put out¬†its own survey showing The One up by¬†ninepoints.¬† No partisan sample breakdown was made available to the public, though, and¬†Allahpundit unearths a few red flags (fourteen percent of self-identified Tea Partiers are leaning towards Obama, CNN?¬† Really?)¬†¬†But wait! Here comes Rasmussen, chasing its¬†eye-opening Congressional ballot tracker with an encore survey showing Mitt Romney¬†leading the president by three points.¬† Republicans rejoice again.¬† Until…an¬†even newer¬†Reuters poll had Obama ahead by four, down from the¬†double-digit lead he supposedly held a few weeks ago.¬† All of this is to say that trading polls in April is a pretty useless exercise.¬† Here are two historical notes worth paying attention to at this early stage:
The bad news for Republicans — Mitt Romney begins the general election cycle as the least favorably viewed major party (presumptive) nominee in¬†28 years of ABC News/Washington Post polling.¬† He’s underwater by 12 points on the question:
Mitt Romney has emerged from the Republican primary season with the weakest favorability rating on record for a presumptive presidential nominee in ABC News/Washington Post polls since 1984, trailing a resurgent Barack Obama in personal popularity by 21 percentage points.Thirty-five percent of Americans see Romney favorably, while 47 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the former Massachusetts governor. He’s the first likely nominee to be underwater — seen more unfavorably than favorably — in ABC/Post polls in eight presidential primary seasons over the past 28 years.
The good news for Republicans — Despite Romney’s apparent likeability gap, President Obama is making some¬†dubious polling history of his own:
Incumbents always start out ahead ‚ÄĒ until now. For some reason they omit 1984, but Conn Carroll has that number: Reagan led Mondale by fully 13 points in April that year.¬†Not since Gerald Ford has a sitting president actually trailed his presumptive opponent six-plus months before the election.
If you like nasty, negative elections, you’re going to¬†adore 2012.