If electability trumps ideology in the Republican nominating contest – and in the end it almost always does (Barry Goldwater in 1964 was an exception) – then the 2012 presidential race inevitably will boil down to Romney vs. Obama.

That’s the main message in a series of recent polls. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney consistently comes close to beating Obama, running neck-and-neck with the President – way better than most of the other GOP candidates, although Ron Paul comes close in some national surveys as well.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday has Romney a whisker ahead of Obama (48-47 percent), well within the survey’s margin of error.