Generic Republican Beats Obama; Named Candidates Still Lose

A Gallup poll shows the political vulnerability created by the jobless recovery

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This week's Gallup and WSJ/NBC presidential polls may hearten Republicans, but not any particular GOP contender. These early campaign heat-checks show Barack Obama losing by five points to a generic Republican candidate but still outpacing any of the already-announced candidates by a comfortable margin. The likely meaning, as The Hill wrote today, suggests, again, that Obama is vulnerable due the jobless economic recovery and Republicans are hobbled by a lack of a enthusiasm for the current crop of contenders.

Yesterday, Gallup found (chart here) that the faceless "Republican Party's candidate" was outpacing the president  44 to 39 percent. The polling outfit attributed not-statistically-significant lead as giving him a "slightly weaker position but still very competitive with his as-yet-unnamed opponent." 18 percent of voters didn't express a preference for either the generic GOPer or the president in the poll.

The WSJ/NBC poll made waves for the warning signs it gave the president. As National Journal wrote, the percentage of Americans who will vote for the president stayed constant, but the amount of "voters who say they will probably vote for the Republican candidate has risen 10 points in the last month, to 40 percent." Still, the gains for the generic Republicans haven't translated into a gains for a specific candidate: "the president still leads GOP White House contenders" including the current frontrunner Mitt Romney, The Journal observed.

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