That didn't take long. A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that President Barack Obama currently leads against Republican Mitt Romney.
While Romney has not yet officially won the GOP primary, the remaining candidates have no way of overcoming his massive lead in delegates. So this new poll compares the likely general election fight on a number of factors. The poll was taken April 5 through 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
If a general election were held during early April, the poll shows 51 percent support for Obama and 44 percent support for Romney. Obama holds a large lead among female voters, who favor him by 19 percentage points over Romney.
Romney holds the lead over the president among male voters, with an 8 percentage point lead. The two candidates were virutally tied among independent voters, who usually help determine the winner of national elections.
While the poll might seem conclusive, there are many other factors in play:
One, the general election is months away. Attack ads against Romney still are running on television and radio stations, while the major spending blitz against the president has not yet begun.
Two, gasoline prices are expected to go up again as part of the maintenance and change in fuel blends done by refiners every spring. The national average for a gallon of unleaded gas could pass $4 this week, experts say. Locally, some gas stations are within pennies of that mark.
Three, the poll only predicts the results of the popular vote. The winner of the presidential race must win the Electoral College, which divides its votes based on who wins in each state.
Four, the extended primary means that the Republican Party has not yet put forward a united front at the national level. Once Romney officially wins the nomination and a vice presidential candidate is named, there should be a much more cohesive effort by the GOP against the sitting president.