The Campaign Spot

The Shoo-in Incumbent Suddenly Trails

The inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom: “Obama’s a shoo-in for reelection, Obama’s a shoo-in for reelection, Obama’s a shoo-in for reelect-OOP!”

Romney appears formidable: In a general-election trial heat in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll he runs evenly with Barack Obama among all Americans, and numerically outpoints him, 49-46 percent, among registered voters — not a statistically significant lead, given sampling error, but a clear reflection of Obama’s vulnerability to a well-positioned challenger.

Just imagine what it would look like once they applied a likely-voter screen.

But give it 24 hours, and it will be back to, “Obama’s a shoo-in for reelection, Obama’s a shoo-in for reelection, Obama’s a shoo-in for reelection . . .”

UPDATE: With a poll sample that obviously isn’t reflexively pro-Obama, ABC News finds this nugget ominous for Palin’s chances:

Indeed, despite advancing in GOP primary preference, Palin faces daunting challenges. Sixty-four percent of Americans say they definitely will not vote for her for president, a new high. Sixty-three percent describe her as unqualified for the job, below its peak but still a substantial majority. Even in her own party, among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 41 percent rule out voting for her and 39 percent see her as unqualified.

Obviously, those numbers can change. But she begins with that daunting mountain of skepticism before her . . .

Also note this extraordinarily ominous finding for Obama:

A vast 89 percent of Americans say the economy’s in bad shape. It’s ranged from 87 to 94 percent steadily since spring 2008. This gets old; people want relief. But 57 percent say that in terms of their own experience, the economy has not yet even begun to recover from the recession.

Way at the end of the full findings, we get what seems to me to be the headline: OBAMA’S UNDERWATER AGAIN, with a 47 percent approval rating, 49 percent disapproval.

Hey, what happened to that 60 percent approval rating in the AP poll?

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