What to make of that topline between Obama and Mitt Romney, showing Obama up by seven points over the presumptive GOP nominee? Well, for starters a big part of Obama’s lead has to be chalked up to the hugely Democratic tilt of this poll. Pollsters with a more reasonable spread – in particular Gallup and Rasmussen – show a much tighter contest.
But the general election campaign has not actually begun. In fact, the playing field has been systematically stacked in favor of President Obama, who has been relentlessly campaigning while Romney has been mired in a messy primary battle. That is now set to change with Romney clearing out the GOP field.
Additionally, only about 10 to 15 percent of all voters are actually up for grabs in November, and they are hardly paying close attention just yet. Given that, I am much less interested in the head-to-head horse race number between Obama and Romney than I am in the details discussed above. To borrow a metaphor from economics, items like who voters trust more on creating jobs, whether they think the recession is over, or whether Obama is doing a good job dealing with the gas price surge are all “leading indicators” of where the race is going to head as we move forward through the cycle.