Romney topped Obama 49 percent to 45 percent among registered voters in the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday. Among all Americans, the 2012 rivals would be tied, at 47 percent.
Obama beat Romney 51 percent to 47 percent a year ago to win a second term.
Polls like this are, of course, nonsensical. They take a snapshot of the current political landscape and then draw from the data a conclusion that most would see as inevitable. Ask a homeowner how he feels about the service of the local fire department while his house is burning to the ground and you’re probably going to get a rather low job performance score. Ask “registered voters” about the president’s job performance while his signature piece of legislation is wiggling like bacon in the frying pan, and you’re going to get some interesting numbers.
That isn’t to say that polls like the one just released by Washington Post/ABC News are any less compelling or informative. The love affair with President Obama is probably on the verge of seeing its final days. Many in the mainstream media are beginning to break ranks and actually report the news. Countless democrats are distancing themselves from the increasingly unpopular president as re-election campaigns begin in earnest. Republican “fear-mongering” about Obamacare is beginning to prove prophetic. The insulating and protective bubble that has helped prop up the Obama presidency is quickly crumbling around him. He has gone from a president many defended in spite of the facts to a man far fewer trust or even see as competent just a year into his second term.
That said, could Governor Mitt Romney really defeat President Obama in a rematch?
Absolutely not. At least not today – regardless of what this poll may say. Three factors are at play here. 1) It’s a poll. They’re flawed (This one has a 3.5% margin of error – that closes the gap a bit). Romney’s camp had numerous polls that had him winning last time around. How’d that work out? 2) This poll shows Romney winning a theoretical popular vote. Popular votes don’t win the presidency. There’s no evidence to support any claim that Romney could close the gap in pivotal swing states to ultimately change the electoral tally; and that’s the only one that counts. 3) Even though President Obama has spent much of his presidency acting more like a candidate than an elected official, he’s not running for office in November of 2013. Candidate Obama is a far scarier beast than President Obama. Romney looks great on paper compared to President Obama, but candidate Obama would surely close that gap.
In the end, take polls like this for what they’re worth – little to nothing in the grand scheme of things. But don’t for a moment let that reality keep you from taking a moment to have a little chuckle as you think of what could have been. And certainly don’t let it keep you from throwing the news in the faces of your Obama-loving liberal friends.