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February 11, 2010

Obama Only Ahead of Hypothetical, Unnamed GOP Opponent 44-42 in 2012 Match Up

Gallup's first (I think) poll of 2012.

This isn't all good news -- a hypothetical candidate is actually stronger than a real one, because a real opponent has flaws, limitations, and unappealing political positions that a hypothetical candidate doesn't (or, at least, has fewer of: here we can guess the hypothetical opponent has some of the typical drawbacks of any GOP candidate).

Obama actually declared he was an empty vessel into which the public can pour its hopes; essentially he ran his whole campaign as that hypothetical candidate, offering as few commitments and facts about himself as possible. The public was invited to believe he was anything they wanted to believe he was, and they took him up on that.

A real GOP candidate will not have that advantage, as the media won't permit it, and will tie that candidate down with as many specific, vote-losing positions as it can. No GOP candidate would ever be allowed by the media to run as an empty vessel.

Still, Obama's number is 44%, which is far enough from 51% to say he's got some work to do. Sure, 2012 is a long way off, and sure, the economy should be (hopefully) growing by then, if weakly, but oftentimes early impressions are hard to change.

On the other hand: Clinton started out weak but by 1996, with the economy growing, was thought to be all but undefeatable. Hard to see how Obama manages that with a far more severe recession and a host of policies seemingly designed to keep us in recession forever, but the American economy is hard to kill.

Clinton also moved hard to the center after 1994 -- tough to see Obama doing that.

Thanks to AHFF Geoff.

Underwater in Quinippiac: Except for a couple of dodgy Big Media polls, every poll finds what Scott "Adolf Hitler" Rasmussen does.

Some details:

Quinnipiac 2/2-8/10; 2,617 registered voters, 1.9% margin of error Mode: Live telephone interviews (Quinnipiac release)


Obama Job Approval
45% Approve, 46% Disapprove

Inds: 40 / 49

Economy: 41 / 54

Health Care: 35 / 58 <

Job Approval / Disapproval
Dems in Congress: 28 / 63
Reps in Congress: 28 / 61

State of the Country
26% Satisfied, 73% Dissatisfied

Here's a really key question:

Which comes closer to your point of view: Democrats in Congress are not considering Republican points of view in pushing legislation or Repubilcans in Congress are misusing the filibuster to block legislation?

46% Democrats pushing legislation, 37% Republicans misusing filibuster

And health care is still unpopular:

From what you've heard or read, do you mostly approve or mostly disapprove of the proposed changes to the health care system under consideration in Congress?

35% Mostly Approve, 54% Mostly Disapprove

The media keeps pushing on us poll questions that state something like 63% of the country still wants Republicans and Democrats to "work together" on a health care bill.

That question must be read in context with two facts in mind:

First of all, the fact that the public may want the parties to "work together" on the issue says nothing at all about what they have in mind as a hypothetical final product of such cooperation. In other words, it could be that -- and does indeed seem to be that -- the public wants the parties to "work together," but work together on a a bill that is much closer to the GOP's idea of reform than Obama's. It seems that's the case, because whenever the public is asked about this bill -- and Democrats have promised vague "improvements," so the public is probably thinking about this bill plus some "improvements" -- they reject it.

The media keeps acting as if this poll finding indicates the public wants some rinky-dink compromise with the Pelosi-Reid-Nelson-Obama bill and then they'll be happy. No. Other poll findings disprove that.

Second of all, there are some things the public is always in favor of, and it's a mistake to read much into such questions. Of course the public wants the parties to "work together." They also want the parties, I'm sure, to show more civility, act more statesmanlike, and only cross streets at green lights.

Such vague nods to what is basically just good behavior is hardly an endorsement of anything resembling the Frankenstein monster the Democratic brain trust has cooked up for us.

But the media keeps brandishing that -- 63% of the public wants the parties to work together on this -- as if it's a win for Obama. No, it's not. Much of the public wants Obama to fashion a more conservative and less "comprehensive" solution, which he won't do.

They keep saying that the public is against the bill, but, in positive news for Obama, they want the parties to keep working together on it.

How on earth is that positive news for Obama? Why is it when the media sees the public wants some compromise on this issue, they immediately assume the public means they want the GOP to make concessions to Obama?

I was asking that rhetorically. I know why.

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posted by Ace at 11:42 AM

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