WSJ poll: Romney leads Obama by six when voters are asked who has good ideas to improve the economy

The bad news from the big new WSJ/NBC poll? O leads overall by six and leads Romney head to head on most intangibles, including big leads on likability, compassion, women’s issues, and looking out for the middle class. The good news? Part of that lead is no doubt driven by the fact that many voters haven’t paid enough attention to the race yet to be able to pick Romney out of a line-up. As they get to know him, the gap will presumably (hopefully?) close. The better news? On the one issue that matters above all others, Romney’s already competitive. Here’s the PDF of the crosstabs; pay special attention to page 15 and then pages 17-18, which is where they delve into opinion on the economy. On the question of who has good ideas to improve it, Romney already leads by six points, which is two points more than his lead was back in November.

And yet. For the second time today — dude, I’m nervous:

That’s an awfully nice trend for O, especially after the disappointing jobs report last month. But wait, you say — isn’t he still in a lot of trouble given that nearly two-thirds say that his policies have either hurt the economy or had no effect? Answer: In theory, yes, but behold.

The margin of error is especially large for each of those data points because the questions are being asked of only half the sample, but if Romney’s really just slightly ahead of O on a gut-check question of who’d do more to get the economy on track, that’s … worrisome. I would think this is where he’d start out with a big lead, with Obama needing distinct improvement in unemployment over the next six months to catch up. Instead they’re about on par. Hmmmm.

Oh, and as for Obama’s lead among Latinos: 47 points right now, 69/22. Exit question: Time to refocus the campaign on dog-eating?