Obama’s numbers on a generic ballot question might be too good

Obama’s numbers on a generic ballot question might be too good

Harvard poll provides good news for Republicans.

After months of bad news for Republican candidates on the national level, the latest Harvard/Newsweek poll suggests that the public’s negative impression of the GOP as a whole isn’t translating into public support for national candidates. (And given what we know of the GOP’s unpopular positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, and immigration, there’s a good chance Republicans may be losing the battle for the heart and soul of American politics as well.)

The poll, which had Obama up 47-43 with 4 percent support in the poll’s final release, looks like it was conducted in a calm sea of national gloom. Voters were asked to choose a preferred candidate of their own party’s primary electorate, and in the final three weeks of the race, no candidate made a single impression. In most cases, the preferred Democratic candidate or the GOP nominee wound up going down in the final week, which suggests the poll was conducted before the nomination process began to wind down and a nominee had begun to emerge.

But in a world of bad news for Republicans, which is the world that the polling organization Newsom has been trying to steer voters to, Obama’s numbers on a generic ballot question might be too good. His lead in the Harvard poll, 2 points, is the same lead that Obama claimed in the RealClearPolitics average on the same question. If the same voters who say Obama is the most qualified candidate in the race say they prefer Obama to Romney, and by a 2-1 margin, Obama should come out on top according to the Harvard/Newsweek poll, with 46 percent of voters.

As a candidate, Romney is underwater, losing by an 18-point margin of 52-44 percent to Obama’s 47-41 percent. The question of which candidate was better at energizing voters came down to a close 4-point margin between Romney and Obama, but by far

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