Others have highlighted this poll data to point out Romney’s weakness against the Democrats. I don’t put too much faith in that aspect — the Democrats are largely known quantities. Romney’s still introducing himself, and where he’s spent the most time — eg, Iowa and New Hampshire — he’s surging.
But for most of the nation I think Romney is about as close a stand-in for Generic Republican as you’re going to get. And look at John Edwards’ edge over Hillary in this scenario. Eight points.
A top handicapper told me recently that he expects Hillary to perform in a general election as ‘Generic Democrat Minus Five Points.’ Meaning that she can win — but only in another wave election like we saw in the 2006 election, where resentment against Bush and the GOP gives Dems a 6 to 8 point head start.
Barack Obama may have a similar structural disadvantage. (Though given his ability to mobilize untraditional voters — millennials and gen xers in particular — he might be able to make up for it. He remains as ever a wild card.)
If Democrats are looking for a safer bet to take back the Oval office, Edwards the silver tongued Southern senator looks like a winner from this poll data…Â especially if he’s fortunate to run against another flip flopper from Massachusetts.