Mid-summer has seen something of a lull in presidential polls. Still, we’re so inundated by horse race numbers of questionable import that it’s hard to resist looking for those less noted but perhaps revealing metrics buried deep in the polling data.
Here’s one stab at that: the spread between President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s favorability ratings.
Remember, incumbents have two measures — approval and favorability. Out of office challengers only have one. And Obama’s approval numbers have actually tumbled a bit in the last couple months. But both get tested on favorability which, as the word suggests, tracks general regard for the person.
This tends to be a good metric for Obama (people tend to like him personally if not always approve of his stewardship) and a really bad one for Romney (people don’t seem to like him if while in some cases supporting him). But this seems to be a post-primary high water mark.
What metric are you watching?
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.