Argument 3: Obama is doing well in the polls.

After spiking in January, the presidents’ approval ratings have settled back into the mid-to-low 40s. This is within striking distance of the 47 or 48 percent approval a president typically needs in order to win, but it still falls short of that mark.

These early polls have little predictive power for next November. But they do offer a snapshot of today, and they aren’t indicative of a dominant president. As I’ve noted before, this approval rating obscures a much deeper disapproval on policy matters, suggesting that his support is quite soft. We see this again in the Pew poll cited above. The president’s approval rating is 47 percent, but his approval rating on the economy is 39 percent, on military action in Libya is 41 percent, and on the budget deficit is 33 percent.

This may be spilling over into head-to-head matchups for 2012. ABC/Washington Post recently found the President leading Mitt Romney by four points among registered voters, while Democratic pollster Democracy Corps found him trailing Romney by two among likely voters. Rasmussen Reports found the president leading Romney by five among likely voters. These aren’t horrendous numbers, but they aren’t good, either. “Tepid” is the description that’s most appropriate.