Barack Obama continues to run even with a generic Republican candidate in polling for the 2012 general election. Among registered voters, 43% say they would like to see Obama reelected while 40% say they would prefer that a Republican candidate win the election. Voter preferences are little changed from July, but Obama has lost the 11-point advantage he held over a Republican candidate in the spring of this year. Independent voters are divided over their preference in the 2012 general election: as many say they would like to see Obama reelected (38%) as say they prefer a Republican candidate (36%). In May, Obama enjoyed a seven-point edge among independents (42%35%). In July, just 31% of independents backed Obama while 39% preferred a Republican.

Obama continues to perform well among young people, blacks and low-income households. Women also support Obama over a generic Republican by a 50%-34% margin. Among whites, Obama trails a generic Republican candidate 47%-36%; he performs particularly poorly among white men (53%-29% in favor of a GOP candidate) and whites without a college degree (50%-29% in favor of a GOP candidate). Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research at the Pew Research Center, says the trend in generic polls can be informative but that the ‘generic ballot’ has no predictive power, particularly at this very early stage in the presidential race. Read More