Over the past month, President Obama’s job approval numbers have managed to bottom out and start to improve ever so slightly in Gallup’s tracking poll. Compared to the beginning of the month when Obama’s job approval hovered around 40 percent, it has climbed up every so slightly to 43 percent. From Gallup:
With a job approval of 43 percent, Obama is still beatable in a general election, but he doesn’t appear as incredibly weak as he did at the beginning of the month.
Poll after poll after poll has shown that Mitt Romney does substantially better than any of the other possible nominees against Obama in the general election. If Obama’s job approval numbers stay in this current poor–but not terrible–range, Romney will be able to make a powerful case to primary voters that he is their only chance to unseat Obama. On the other hand, if Obama’s approval drops down to the mid-30s when the first primaries start, this electability argument won’t have much value, because if Obama has low enough approval numbers, almost any GOP nominee could beat him.
For the Romney campaign, the best thing is for Obama to be weak enough that he can be defeated, but strong enough that it seems only Romney can beat him. Obama with a job approval in the mid-40s is right about in the sweet spot for Romney.