Mitt Romney this month became the clear frontrunner for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. He has a number of advantages and disadvantages in this contest that we have earlier examined. Here, we’ll assume that he does win the nomination and reaches the general election. How will he fare against the incumbent, Barack Obama?

Advantages against Obama:

Economy – Romney has a history of running businesses. Assuming that the current economic climate continues, this should provide him with an advantage over the President, as people remain uncertain about their economic future. As long as the economy remains tepid at best, it is likely that the economy becomes more and more important as the political issue of this campaign.

Geography – Romney should do better than McCain in a number of the swing states that were won by Obama in 2008. These include states in the Midwest like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana where he has high name recognition because of his father. As well, since he was Governor of Massachusetts, he can be expected to outperform other Republicans in the New England states.

Demographics – In some regions of the nation, Romney’s religion will work to his advantage. Primarily, this will occur in states where there are a large number of Mormons, especially Utah and the states that abut it. Also, because of this, he has a throng of volunteers who will be excited to work tirelessly on his behalf.

Disadvantages against Obama:

Economy – Right now, a lot of people are upset that a number of companies have downsized in this country and moved their jobs either south to Mexico and Central America or west to Asia. Romney, in his role as a business executive, has been accused of shipping jobs overseas to increase profits. Although it is unlikely to be used in the nomination campaign, I would expect the Democrats to employ this issue, especially in the rust Belt.

Demographics – Obama is likely to still dominate among younger voters, although they will probably be much less excited than they were in 2008. Mitt has been reluctant to take a vociferous position on the Ryan budget that was recently passed by the House. I assume that he fears losing the vote of seniors if he supports it, especially since many of the parts of the bill that are most abhorrent to the elderly will likely be removed from it in subsequent iterations. Another demographic feature that Romney must deal with is the Hispanic problem. As Hispanics become more integrated into our nation, more and more of them will be eligible to vote. This makes some states, such as Texas, much less unfriendly to any Republican candidate.

Geography – Any Republican has a lot of advantages over Obama in the states from West Virginia to Kansas, and then south to the Gulf of Mexico. However, I would guess that, of all Republican options, Romney is likely to fare worst in these states. Although he should still handily win in many of the states, the two most important, Texas and Florida may be much more competitive than otherwise.

Here are the latest polls, as listed by

Presidential Polls, Republican Primary Election Match-Ups
Polling Date Polling Company Romney Obama
6/13/11 NBC/WSJ 43% 49%

6/12/11 PPP 45% 47%

6/7/11 Fox 41% 48%

6/6/11 Quinnipiac 41% 47%

6/6/11 Reuters 38% 51%

6/5/11 ABC 49% 46%

5/25/11 Democracy Corps 44% 48%

5/17/11 Suffolk University 43% 46%

We see in the above table how close the national race would be between these two candidates based upon current projections. Obama has a slightly bigger lead over Romney in these polls than last month, when his average lead was about 3% nationally. This month, the lead has expanded to about 4.5%. We will continue updating these poll results monthly for as long as Romney remains in the Republican nomination race or until next November, if he should become the GOP nominee.