NPR logo Luckily For Obama, Election Day Isn't This Week

Luckily For Obama, Election Day Isn't This Week

Good thing for President Obama the general election that will decide whether he's a one or two-termer isn't being held this Tuesday.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests that he might have trouble getting the 270 electoral votes he would need to be re-elected.

The poll found nearly 60 percent of voters disapproved of the president's handling of the economy and a similar percentage unhappy with his management of federal deficits.

The percentage of voters who said the nation was on the wrong track was 66 percent versus 32 percent who said it was moving in the right direction.

By way of comparison, at a similar point in the presidency of George H.W. Bush in June 1991, the wrong track, right track was 57 percent versus 39 percent.

Bush, of course, lost to Bill Clinton, an ominous precedent for Obama. But then it was a three-way race in 1992. Also, Clinton was one of the most dynamic American politicians of the 20th century.

Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, is no Bill Clinton.

Which is exactly why the next bit of data must be distressing for Obama's re-election campaign team, if not the president himself.

In a head-to-head against Romney, the former Massachusetts governor appeared to have a slight edge with registered voters, 49 percent to 46 percent although that was within the 3.5 percentage point margin or error.

Among all voters it was 47-47. Romney polled the best of all the GOP possibilities. Of course, the Team Obama hasn't yet begun a focused and well-financed effort to define Romney negatively for voters. On the other hand, all the Republican candidates are criticizing the president.

Meanwhile, when voters were asked who they trusted to do a better job of handling the economy, Congressional Republicans did slightly better than the president, 45 percent versus 42 percent.

Again, as many have pointed out, there's a lot of time between now and Election Day 2012. There's time for the president to try to make his case, so long as the economy cooperates by not getting significantly worse.