Finally! The candidate who beats Obama

As Doug Mataconis helpfully points out over at Outside the Beltway, a new Gallup poll has tested the waters of Republican hopefuls for next year’s election and the results are in. I know each of you may have your own preferred candidate who you’d like to see at the top of the ticket, but if you want to limit President Obama to a single term, it’s time for you to get on board with the winning combination. Are you ready?

Generic Republican Bumper Sticker

Forty-four percent of registered voters say they are more likely to vote for “the Republican Party’s candidate” and 39% for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, according to Gallup’s June update. The current five-percentage-point edge for the generic Republican is not a statistically significant lead, and neither side has held a meaningful lead at any point thus far in 2011.

These results are based on a June 9-12 Gallup poll.

However, as Doug explains, while Generic Republican may be able to kick some butt next November, actual living, breathing Republicans don’t do quite as well yet.

[I]f you put the President up against an actual Republican, instead of just a generic opponent, he beats every one of them in every poll right now. This is despite a declining approval rating, increasing economic pessimism, and the fact that nearly 2/3 of the country believes we are on the wrong track. Moreover, this one poll is contradicted by other “Obama v. Generic Republican” polls that show very different results:

Well, not every poll. There’s actually another Rassmussen poll out this weekend which pretty much duplicates Gallup’s results, and has been delivering good news for Generic Republican for three weeks in a row now. As with most of these things, though, it’s not the hard digits in a single snapshot which are important, but the prevailing trend lines. Even through some daunting economic times and waves of international unrest, Obama had been managing to poll well enough that potential challengers wouldn’t be able to touch him. In fact, a number of pundits had previously been speculating that this was a factor in some of the high profile potential GOP candidates waiting so long to declare.

But that seems to be changing now. We could play the game of guessing what the main driving factors are all day, but you’re all more than capable of doing that for yourselves. The point is, a once seemingly unbeatable hand in the political card game is starting to look more like an inside straight draw. That’s not to say that things won’t entirely reverse yet again over the next year if the jobs situation somehow perks up, but hopefuls have a bit more reason to hope during the Summer of Wreckovery.

Go Go Generic Republican!