Of course it has nothing to do with a 9% unemployment rate and an economy going nowhere but down.

(The Hill) — President Obama is struggling in the polls against would-be Republican challengers because voters don’t know the GOP contenders well enough yet, a top White House official said Thursday.

Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer expressed confidence that Obama would perform better against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry once Americans familiarize themselves with those GOP presidential candidates.

“My guess is that a significant portion of the people polled, the American people, don’t know what Mitt Romney’s economic plan is yet,” Pfeiffer said on MSNBC. “I’m confident they will know that he supports Cut, Cap and Balance, which would essentially end Medicare, end Social Security.”

The president has struggled in recent polling against both Perry and Romney, two of the leading candidates to snag the Republican presidential nomination and face off against Obama in the general election. Election polling shows Obama locked in a tight race against both men, and a Quinnipiac University poll Wednesday found that voters give Romney the edge over Obama in terms of handling the economy.