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By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
Mesa, Arizona (CNN) – Things appear to be moving in the right direction for President Obama and his re-election drive – at least a bit.
The unemployment rate has been steadily going down in recent months.
The Dow Jones is hovering around 13,000 – nearly double the 6,547 that existed in March 2009, shortly after he took office.
His job approval number, according to our latest CNN-ORC International Poll, is at 50%.
On top of this, the president beats each of the four GOP presidential finalists in hypothetical one-on-one matchups.
Despite those indicators, White House and Obama re-election campaign officials should be under no illusions. There is still a lot of time between now and the November election.
Where things stand in February certainly doesn’t indicate where they will be in November.
There are so many factors at play.
For one thing, we don’t know who the Republican nominee will be. It probably will be one of the four finalists, but not necessarily. This already has proven to be one wild and unpredictable race for the GOP nomination.
Most serious Democratic Party insiders fear Mitt Romney a lot more than they fear Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul. They believe the former Massachusetts governor would be a very formidable opponent.
They believe they would have an easier time with Santorum. His outspoken views on social issues, they say, could alienate many moderate Republicans and independents, especially suburban women.
Then again, I have often heard Jimmy Carter aides recall that they were high-fiving each other in 1980 when they heard that Ronald Reagan would be the Republican nominee. How could an incumbent president, they thought, lose to a former Hollywood actor?
We all know how that story ended.
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(CNN) - A week ago, the Gallup daily tracking poll of registered Republicans around the country had Mitt Romney at 37% with Newt Gingrich at only 14%. Guess what? That 23-point spread has now disappeared. The new nationwide Gallup numbers: Romney 29% to Gingrich’s 28%. That’s a statistical tie well within the 3-point sampling error.
It only goes to show you how quickly political fortunes can change. Fresh from his double-digit victory over Romney in South Carolina, Gingrich now certainly has the political momentum going with him into Florida’s January 31 primary. He seems to be on a roll.
Newt Gingrich has a long record in Washington which, as CNN's Lisa Sylvester explains, can have its downsides.
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer is the command center for breaking news, politics and extraordinary reports from around the world. Tune in weeknights from 5-7pm ET on CNN.
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