OBAMA STUMBLES IN POLL – AT 9:02 A.M. ET: Now, at least this week, "anybody" at least ties the president. From Andrew Malcolm at the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket blog:
President Obama's done a lot of talking recently about Winning the Future. Trouble is, he's not. Politically.
At this moment -- 57% of the way through a first term with only 628 days left until the 2012 presidential election -- the Democrat can only tie any conceivable Republican candidate.
The GOP doesn't even need a frontrunner to catch the incumbent of the most powerful political office in the world. No wonder Obama's bringing fresh blood into the White House and shipping out aides to kick-start the billion-dollar campaign back in Chicago.
A new Gallup Poll finds Obama a little worse off in that generic presidential ballot category this year than he was last year at this time.
And -- this'll get the ex-state senator chewing the nicotine gum faster -- the new Gallup numbers show Obama significantly behind the same standing of his Republican predecessor, that Texas guy who still refuses to reciprocate Obama's criticism of his two terms.
Last February Obama led a generic Republican 44-42. This February, after the invisible "Recovery Summer" and Democrats' historic midterm election shellacking, any Republican ties Obama at 45-45.
Gallup's numbers show Obama maintaining his voter strength among blacks. Women still prefer him more than men do.
But the youth vote, so crucial to the Democratic ticket last time, is evaporating. Going into the 2008 election Obama had 63% of the registered voters aged 18 to 34. Today, he's got only 51%. Likewise, Obama's support among 35-to-54-year-olds has crumbled from 53% in 2008 to 43% today.
COMMENT: While this gives us cause for optimism, please always remember how hard the Republicans work to lose elections. You must admire their zeal. So let's not take anything for granted.
The Republicans need a dynamic candidate to wrap things up. Or an unusual candidate who captures the public imagination. I don't see that person yet, but I'm looking.
February 17, 2011