It's going to be a long, long year of addled speculation and rampant prognosticating over the 2012 elections. And this latest round of hypothetical state matchups from Public Policy Polling seems specifically designed to test my patience:
Barack Obama would easily win New Jersey again if he had to stand for reelection today, even if Republicans put forth Chris Christie as their candidate. Obama leads Christie by a 17 point margin in a hypothetical contest, the same amount Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich trail by. Mitt Romney does the best of the leading Republican contenders in the state, trailing Obama by 15, and Sarah Palin has one of her worst performances in any state we've polled to date, lagging the President by a whooping 30 points.
So if you were wondering what could happen if something that is absolutely not going to happen somehow happens, THE RESULTS ARE IN, and President Obama handily beats someone he won't be running against for president. NOW YOU KNOW. But what if Chris Christie, in addition to running for president, also does other things he won't be doing, like sprouting pegasus wings or teaching himself to poop gold ingots, by magic? I daresay that gap could close! Our pollsters, sadly, lack the surfeit of imagination truly needed to fill us with wonder.
I do think it's neat that certain poll gaps are now "whooping," for some reason.