That sound you just heard may have been the collective screams of whatever remains of the weak-kneed Democratic establishment: The re-election of President Barack Obama is in legitimate trouble, if you take the latest Gallup poll at face value.
(Chill out, Democrats: You know we have no more regard for the Republican coalition. But you can't deny their superior knee strength!)
According to the Gallup Daily poll released yesterday, Mitt Romney is currently leading Obama among national registered voters by two percentage points, 47 percent to 45 percent. This may not seem like much, but it does constitute a possible electoral deficit for the incumbent president as the heated general election campaign season gets rolling.
For some context, George W. Bush won a very close re-election in 2004 -- some say it was stolen, owing to a conservative Supreme Court decision over voting irregularities in Florida, but that's for another day -- after leading John Kerry by 4 percentage points in this poll in April of that year. George H.W. Bush, however, lost to Bill Clinton in 1992 after leading the eventual president in the same poll 41 to 26. (The presence of Ross Perot, who grabbed 25 percent in that poll, undeniably complicates analysis of that year.)
Then there's the CNN/ORC International poll released yesterday, painting a very different picture of the electorate. In that survey, Obama leads Romney by nine points, 52 percent to 43 percent, a fissure fueled largely by the gender gap that's made so many headlines these past few weeks. According to these numbers, women voters favor Obama over Romney by 16 points, furthering the narrative that GOP policy has divided voters by sex and taking some of the wind out of claims that Republicans are winning the "war on women."
What these numbers presage, at the least, is a very close race for the White House in November. Take note, moms.
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