Obama vs. Republican candidates – what the polls say

March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012                                Kenneth Bickers

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s commanding win in the Illinois primary on Tuesday now gives him a lead of 300 delegates over Rick Santorum. According to some political analysts, this puts him in the driver’s seat to win the GOP presidential nomination.

With that in mind, how does he fare in the race for the White House? That depends on which poll you trust. One poll has him trailing President Obama by as much as 12 points while another poll has them tied with the president. But according to CU-Boulder political science professor Kenneth Bickers, it’s too early to put any stock in the polls.

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Obama vs. Republican candidates – what the polls say

March 23, 2012                                Kenneth Bickers

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s commanding win in the Illinois primary on Tuesday now gives him a lead of 300 delegates over Rick Santorum. According to some political analysts, this puts him in the driver’s seat to win the GOP presidential nomination.

With that in mind, how does he fare in the race for the White House? That depends on which poll you trust. One poll has him trailing President Obama by as much as 12 points while another poll has them tied with the president. But according to CU-Boulder political science professor Kenneth Bickers, it’s too early to put any stock in the polls.

CUT 1 “At this point it’s too soon to pay much attention to these horse race polls. The research on this indicates that those polls don’t even begin to be predictive until some time after Super Tuesday and even then they’re not terribly predictive until we move into the summertime and into the early fall.” (:17)

Bickers says there’s only one question pollsters should be asking voters right now that might shed light on the subject.

CUT 2 “If you want to look at a single poll question, it’s not the horse race question, it’s the generic question. It’s: How is the president doing against the generic Republican? (:10) The reason for that is people aren’t yet focused on the contest nationally. Republicans are focused on the Republican contest but not everyone else. Right now the Republicans are doing what parties always do when they’re in a nomination process which is they’re tearing each other down.” (:29

He says the generic poll questions give us a better idea of where a wide range of voters stand.

CUT 3 “The generic poll question is much more interesting. The generic question asks if you’re likely to stay with the incumbent or not in November. (:08) This is like asking if you’re still likely to be married to your spouse in November. If you can’t say yes, there’s a problem in your marriage because if you say I don’t know that’s means there’s something fundamentally at stake in that relationship in a negative way.” (:27)

According to Real Clear Politics, a Chicago-based political polling data aggregator, President Obama’s average job approval rating is 47 percent with 46.9 percent disapproving. As for Governor Romney, his RCP average is 35.6 percent favorable, 45.4 percent unfavorable.

-CU-

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