Start with the obvious: Opinion polls are fickle. A candidate is up today, down tomorrow. So placing too much stock in early presidential polls is risky business indeed.
With that caveat tidily out of the way, however, it is nothing short of incredible that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney not only was slightly ahead of President Barack Obama in a recent CBS/New York Times poll, but that Romney even led Obama among women. As you may remember, Obama soundly defeated Republican candidate John McCain among female voters in 2008.
Romney's current edge is quite a feat for the presumptive nominee of a party that Democrats regularly accuse of waging a "war on women."
In fact, it was only last month that a CNN survey gave the president a 16-point advantage among female voters. But in the more recent CBS/New York Times poll, Romney edged Obama among female registered voters by 46 percent to 44 percent.
Making that finding all the more remarkable, the latest poll was biased significantly in favor of Democrats, with 6 percent more Democrats than Republicans being sampled. Yet Romney still came out ahead. And he led among all respondents by 46 percent to 43 percent.
It should be noted that Romney's leads among women and overall are within the survey's margin of error, so statistically he and Obama are tied.
Still, the ground that Romney has gained on Obama among women in particular is an encouraging sign that a lot of women are dismissing the nonsensical claim that the Republican Party is waging a war to rob them of their rights.
Given the expected continuing weakness of the economy in coming months and Obama's shaky fortunes among independent voters, Romney's candidacy is shaping up to pose a significant threat to the president's hopes for a second term.
As well it should.