To be fair, the results aren't anything approaching reality, numbers-wise. The same poll shows the president winning, but that "Obama edges Romney by only 1 point and Gingrich by 5 points." So not by a comfortable margin by any means. In fact, you could call it a statistical dead heat in the Obama/Romney matchup. Still, in a non-numerical sense, the perception of that 44% who say that Obama will win is accurate within the poll, which does in fact show that Obama would win. Fox and Friends were freaking out that the largest percentage agreed with the findings of their poll.
What we see here again is what I've come to call the "clown show effect." While an endless series of GOP debates has amounted to free advertising for Republican candidates, that advertising hasn't been extremely positive. And, of course, Herman Cain's flameout didn't help any.
In fact, The Hill reports that the "political winds have shifted to the Democrats’ backs over the last month."
President Obama is in better shape at the prospect of a prolonged GOP primary battle between former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Mitt Romney. Democrats in the House have been buoyed by a series of court decisions on redistricting and Senate Democrats have recently landed potentially strong recruits in conservative-leaning states.
Democrats on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have seized on the payroll tax extension, which has divided the GOP.
Voter angst at Washington is extremely high, though it is unclear which party will feel the most of the public’s wrath next November.
"The political atmosphere is clearly volatile," the report continues. "A couple months ago, Republicans were optimistic that they had a good chance of running the White House and both chambers of Congress in January, 2013. But since then, that optimism has waned."
Another part of the problem for the GOP is their commitment to continuing to be politically tone deaf. Despite the fact that Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare-slaying plan was extremely unpopular with voters, Republicans keep going back to it as if it were the most popular idea in history. In trying to out-conservative Newt Gingrich for example, Mitt Romney's taken to waving the Ryan plan around like a flag. And the entire party is opposed to the wealthy paying their fair share in taxes, which voters poll after poll say they want.
The problem for Republicans is that they looked at Obama's poll numbers and assumed they had a gimme. No matter what they did, they reasoned, Obama was going to lose. So they might as well do whatever they wanted. Sensing easy prey, nutjobs like Cain and Bachmann and Santorum and Perry crawled out of the woodwork, figuring this was their big chance -- the election where a Republican couldn't possibly lose -- and proceeded to pollute the debate with idiocy, hate, and flim-flammery. The feeding frenzy quickly devolved into a three-ring circus, with a clown act in every ring.
And, of course, this all forced the candidates to try to outcrazy each other. The GOP base, finally tired of the original model, is looking for their next Sarah Palin. So each candidate is trying to fill that void by being as divorced from reality as they can possibly be. Pandering to the Tea Party doesn't help with general election voters, either.
Looking back, it all seems a little predictable, like this was what had to happen, given the circumstances. The only thing I find surprising about all this is the shock displayed at rightwing sideshows like Fox and Friends.