BREAKING NEWS: Obama Leads Republicans in Meaningless Poll

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 11 2011 11:40 AM

BREAKING NEWS: Obama Leads Republicans in Meaningless Poll

Reuters alerts us to their new 2012 poll.

Obama leads all possible Republican presidential candidates by double digits, the poll showed. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney scored best against the Democratic incumbent.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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The numbers are Obama up by 51-39 on Huckabee, up on Romney by 51-38, up on Pawlenty by 51-33, up on Huntsman 51-30, up on Palin 54-35, up on Daniels 51-33, up on Bachmann 54-33, up on the fading Trump 57-30. That's... actually not that impressive. Because Obama is riding high off of the killing of Osama bin Laden. And when they were riding high off of military victories, the two Georges Bush were doing much, much better. From a March 24, 1991 Newsday article about George H.W. Bush's polling after the Gulf War:

President George Bush's popularity is soaring so high that a survey by the Times Mirror Center for The People & The Press last week found that if the election were held now, he would beat Cuomo by a whopping 77 percent to 15 percent. (The poll had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2 percentage points.)

Cuomo never ran, but the Bush bounce faded.

From a June 11, 2003 AP story about George W. Bush's polling after the Iraq victory:

When Bush is matched against an unnamed Democratic nominee or against several of the leading Democrats in the race, he holds leads ranging from 13 points against Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to 15 points against an unnamed Democrat to slightly more against Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt or Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, according to polls released this week.

The younger Bush ended up beating Kerry, of course, but by 12 fewer points than that poll suggested. But that's 2012. The good news for Obama now is that he has a booster shot of popularity, and no polls that convince Republicans they can just hold out and expect to beat him -- that's useful for negotiations.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.