Reader J.J. passes along an interesting tidbit from Gloria Borger’s latest column for CNN:

Imagine my surprise when, in the CNN/ORC International Poll out last week, Republicans rated Romney as the person best able to handle health care. Wow. A vote of confidence for the man who supported a plan with mandates in Massachusetts?

It’s true; the CNN poll (pdf) asked Republicans which candidate they believed would be best able to handle a variety of issues on health care, Romney was the top vote getter, scoring 10 points higher than Newt Gingrich.

And this isn’t the only poll showing this result. The new Washington Post/ABC News poll asked Republicans the same thing, and once again, Romney was clearly ahead of his GOP rivals, again leading Gingrich by 10 points on the health care question.

What’s the moral of this story? That the Republican field is filled with incompetent candidates.

I mean, really. Mitt Romney is a long-time supporter of having the government force consumers to buy health insurance, whether they want it or not. His health reform law in Massachusetts served as a blueprint for the dreaded Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”); it allows taxpayer-funded abortions; and offers taxpayer-financed medical care for undocumented immigrants.

And the reason Romney is backed by Republican voters on health care anyway, despite these facts, is that his opponents invested approximately zero energy in telling Republican voters about any of this.

I spent much of 2011 assuming that the GOP presidential candidates would simply bury Romney with these details, to the point at which he had no credibility on health care policy in Republican circles whatsoever. I also assumed these GOP candidates would be competent. They’re not.

Speaking of health care, Harold Pollack has a great piece in the new print edition of the Washington Monthly on what’s likely to happen to the Affordable Care Act if President Obama loses in November, though Brian Beutler reports today on some of the logistical difficulties Republicans will face in trying to kill the law.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.