Barack Obama currently fares as well against a generic opponent in the upcoming presidential election as George W. Bush did in April 2003, a time when Bush’s job approval rating was much higher than Obama’s is today. He also tests considerably better than Bill Clinton did in March 1995.
Nearly half (47%) of registered voters say they would like to see Barack Obama reelected, while 37% say they would prefer to see a Republican candidate win the 2012 election, according to the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press conducted March 8-14 among 1,525 adults. In April 2003, 48% of registered voters said they would like to see Bush reelected in 2004; 34% said they would prefer to see a Democrat win.
At the time, the Iraq war was viewed as moving to a successful conclusion and Bush’s job approval rating among the public stood at 72%. In a survey released earlier this month, 51% of the public approved of the way Obama is handling his job as president.
In other words, whatever peoples’ misgivings about Barack Obama, they most certainly don’t trust the Republicans to do a better job. Also, have we ever seen a weaker field of Republican candidates than in this presidential cycle? I mean, seriously, right now someone like Jeb Bush would look like Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan put together, compared to the current crop of LOSERS (Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Barbour, etc.) whose names are being bandied about.
UPDATE: In related news, Democracy Corps has polling which “shows the new Republican majority very much in play in 2012.” “In fact, these [Republican] incumbents are in a weaker position than Democratic incumbents were even in late 2009, or Republican incumbents were in 2007 in comparable surveys conducted by Democracy Corps.”