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Follow the Job Approval

9:39 AM, Apr 24, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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As the general election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney begins in earnest, what sort of polls should we observe to get a sense of how the candidates are performing? At Hot Air, blogger Karl argues the most helpful polls to examine right now is Obama's job approval numbers, since, as Sean Trende has pointed out, the election will likely be a referendum on the president.

Similarly, the boss writes in his editorial this week that candidate Obama in 2008 now has a record on which he must run:

The Reuters piece quoted above points out, sensibly enough, that “a tepid economic recovery, voter pessimism about the future and a job approval rating largely stuck in the danger zone below 50 percent mean Obama could have a hard time matching his performance in 2008, when enthusiasm for his promise of change propelled him to victory over Republican senator John McCain with 53 percent of the vote.” Even in 2008, this reminds us, Barack Obama was able to get only 53 percent of the vote, winning by about 7 points. And we’re not in 2008 anymore. Candidate Obama is now President Obama. His approval/disapproval numbers today are just about where they were in April 2010. And in November 2010, Republicans defeated Democrats by almost exactly the same 7-point margin in total votes cast in races for the House of Representatives. Romney needs to hold the swing voters who defected from Obama in 2010. They know the case against Obama. They need to hear the case for Romney.

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