Now here, from Politico's reporting on its George Washington University Battleground Poll, is one whopper of a journalistic contradiction. Four paragraphs into the story, there's this:
Republicans looking toward 2012 have consistently argued that the president’s reelection hinges on the economy — regardless of who emerges from the GOP field. That thesis is backed by the 15 percentage-point spread — 42 percent to 57 percent — between those polled who approve and disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.
So with the thesis "backed," President Obama is hurting, right? Well, no. For the story's lede says:
Despite widespread disapproval of Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, more than half of Americans approve of the president and are open to reelecting him.
Oh, well, it's just political journalism. Nothing important.
Vastly important and deeply depressing to Mitt Romney, though, is that even given Obama's 57 percent disapproval on the economy, the former would today lose, 38 percent to Obama's 51. Roughly the same loss-spread holds true for Tim Pawlenty.
So again, so much for the Republicans' thesis, especially when it comes to their addendum -- "regardless of who emerges from the GOP field." To explain, here's my favorite question from the poll (pdf), and its resplendent aggregate answer:
If [Donald Trump] does run for President, do you believe that he has any chance of being elected President? (italics original)
No ... 71%