The GOP spin machine and complicit media — including, disturbingly, NPR — would like you to believe that the recent special elections are incontrovertible predictors of the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. (See Nate Silver's A Guide to Cutting Through Special Election Spin.)
But while two recent special elections sent Republicans to the House where they already have a majority, two recent national polls show an uptick in Obama's approval, and beating hypothetical presidential challengers.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Obama's approval rating ticking up two points to 47% after his jobs speech on September 8. Ipsos polling analyst Cliff Young said he expected Obama's approval rating to hover in the mid-40s over the next several months, "a level that probably would not threaten him as he seeks re-election."
A Public Policy Polling survey found Obama gaining 5 percentage points vs Perry, compared to three weeks ago, now leading Perry 52 - 41%. The same poll showed Obama leading Romney by four points, 49 - 45%.