By Michael A. Memoli
April 20, 2012
The unofficial start of the general-election campaign a week ago triggered a deluge of public polling on the President Obama-Mitt Romney matchup as quickly as research firms could crunch the data. Ten major outlets have now reported numbers. So what do we know so far?
For starters, you may not be surprised to learn that it’s expected to be a close race. The top-line numbers — that is, the head-to-head matchup between the Democratic incumbent and his likely GOP challenger — range from a 9-point lead for Obama (CNN/Opinion Research Corporation) to a 5-point advantage for Romney (Gallup).
The latest poll of the bunch, from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, puts Obama ahead, 49% to 43%. A composite of recent polls from Real Clear Politics gives Obama, on average, a nearly 3-point lead.
Those early top-line numbers are getting most of the attention, but at this stage the campaigns are more interested in what the deeper data show. And though each survey has a different overall result, there are areas of consensus among them that point to the candidates’ main strengths and weaknesses, and the nature of the November electorate.
The full story can be accessed by visiting http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-what-the-obama-romney-polls-tell-us-about-race-20120418,0,6501324.story