President Obama may be trailing Mitt Romney in the polls on who'd do a better job fixing the economy.
But if the Earth ever is attacked by hostile beings from another planet, a strong majority of voters believe Mr. Obama would be superior in dealing with the situation.
In what may be our favorite polling question of the campaign so far, a survey by the National Geographic Channel, first reported by USA Today, finds that 65 percent of Americans say Obama would be better suited than Mr. Romney to handle an alien invasion.
And lest you are tempted to dismiss this poll as pure silliness, the study also found that 36 percent of Americans think UFOs exist, while another 48 percent aren't sure. Which means that at least some of the respondents judging the presidential candidates' alien-fighting abilities may see it as a plausible scenario. (According to the poll, 79 percent also say the federal government has been hiding information about UFOs from the public – which may actually say more about the public’s overall distrust of government than its views on aliens.)
Even for those who don't really think aliens might attack Earth, we say it's an interesting poll question – essentially prodding which candidate voters would prefer at the helm in the case of a sudden, terrifying crisis that threatens the world's very existence.
Or, to put it another way, it's kind of like asking voters which candidate has more Will Smith in him? Who'd be more likely to bring down an enemy spacecraft, charge over to the wreckage, and punch the alien in the face?
For most Americans, the answer seems to be Obama.
Of course, part of Obama's edge here may come from incumbency. He's already the president, so voters are automatically more inclined to see him as a wartime leader. Obama's foreign policy ratings in general have been a source of strength for him. This is the guy who took down Osama bin Laden, after all –so why not aliens?
On the other hand, it’s worth pointing out that in the most recent Gallup poll, Obama and Romney were essentially tied on the measurement of who is a “strong and decisive leader,” with 53 percent of respondents saying Obama was, and 55 percent saying Romney was.
Still, it seems being a strong leader isn’t exactly the same thing as defending the nation against aliens.
Delving further into the alien-fighting scenario, the National Geographic survey also probed the key question of sidekicks. Who would Americans want at their side in an alien attack? According to the poll, 8 percent chose Spiderman, 12 percent said Batman, and a full 21 percent chose the Hulk.
Hmmm. Maybe Romney should pick New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as his running mate, after all.
Credit: Christian Science Monitor