Is Obama now the 2012 underdog?

With the economy floundering, a new Gallup poll puts a generic GOP candidate ahead of President Obama by the widest margin yet

Is Obama now the 2012 underdog?
(Image credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

For the first time, President Obama trails a generic Republican opponent by a statistically significant margin, according to a new Gallup poll. Obama held a slight edge in May, but a generic Republican pulled ahead in June, and this month, that nameless Republican surged ahead by eight points, 47 percent to 39 percent. That's the biggest lead for anyone since Gallup began surveying registered voters on their picks for the 2012 election. Everyone knew Obama's approval ratings were being weighed down by growing gripes about the wars, and the unraveling of the economic recovery — but with numbers this bad, is his re-election becoming a longshot?

Yes. Obama has gone from favorite to underdog: It's highly unusual for an incumbent president to be trailing so badly at this point, says Peter Wehner at Commentary, although Obama's nosedive isn't exactly surprising. An economy as sickly as this one always weighs down the occupant of the White House, and "Obama is not exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else." With less than 40 percent support, and the economy souring, 2012 is looking grim for Obama.

"Recent Gallup poll not surprising"

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A fantasy Republican leads Obama, but a real one won't: It's too bad for the GOP that you can't "beat somebody with nobody," says Robert Stein at Connecting.the.Dots. Obama's prospects will brighten considerably once Republicans are forced to choose a candidate from their "field of has-beens and never-will-bes." It's one thing for stressed-out voters to be vent their anger at the man in the White House; it's quite another to actually vote to put the wobbly Mitt Romney or downright weird Michele Bachmann in charge of the free world.

"President Generic"

Well, there's no denying the trend looks bad for Obama: The 2012 election is a long way from being decided, says Scared Monkeys, but "it is safe to say that the 'kill Osama' bounce is over." As the economy worsens, unemployment creeps back up, "and Obama continually tries to play scare politics with the debt limit, more and more Americans are saying — ABO, anyone but Obama." If your name is Romney, or Bachmann, or Pawlenty, that's good news. If your name is Obama, it most definitely is not.

"Gallup poll: Republican candidate extends lead over Barack Obama to 8 points, 47 percent to 39 percent"

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