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Obama trails "generic" Republican in Gallup poll

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Obama may be lucky there's no such thing as a "generic" Republican presidential candidate.

In a new Gallup poll, the president trails a "generic" GOP candidate by eight points, 46 percent to 38 percent, among registered voters. That matches his performance against a "generic" candidate in September. He led a "generic" Republican rival 45 percent to 39 percent in August.

Mr. Obama fares better when matched up against actual human beings. In September, Gallup had him more-or-less tied with Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, and other polls have consistently shown the president ahead of all of the GOP candidates with the exception of Romney.

Generic polls are often unreliable because they compare a known quantity to an unknown quantity.

The RealClearPolitics polling average has Mr. Obama leading Romney by 0.7 percentage points, Ron Paul by 6.2 points, Perry by 7.4 points, Herman Cain by 8.0 points, Jon Huntsman by 9.0 points, Michele Bachmann by 14.2 points and Newt Gingrich by 15 points.

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