For the first time since last July Barack Obama does not lead Mitt Romney in PPP's monthly national poll on the 2012 Presidential race. Romney has now pulled into a tie with the President at 45%.
Obama's approval rating this month is 46% with 48% of voters disapproving of him. There are 2 things particularly troubling in his numbers: independents split against him by a 44/49 margin, and 16% of Democrats are unhappy with the job he's doing while only 10% of Republicans give him good marks. Republicans dislike him at this point to a greater extent than Democrats like him and that will be a problem for him moving forward if it persists.
Romney takes advantage of those 2 points of weakness for Obama. He leads the President by 9 points with independents at 46-37. And he earns more crossover support, getting 13% of the Democratic vote while only 8% of Republicans are behind Obama.
An extremely wide electability gap has developed between Romney and all the rest of the Republican candidates. Everyone else we tested trails Obama by at least as much as John McCain's 2008 margin of defeat and in most cases more. Obama's up 7 on Michele Bachmann at 48-41, 9 against Tim Pawlenty at 48-39, 12 versus Herman Cain at 48-36, and as usual has his largest lead in a match up with Sarah Palin at 53-37.
Here's an important note on all of this early 2012 polling though: Obama's numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama's doing but aren't committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out. Here's an idea of where these various match ups might stand once all voters have made up their minds:
-In the Obama/Romney head to head 21% of undecideds approve of Obama and 61% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Romney would lead 52-48.
-In the Obama/Bachmann head to head 10% of undecideds approve of Obama and 67% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Obama would lead only 51-49.
-In the Obama/Pawlenty head to head 9% of undecideds approve of Obama and 75% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, the race would be tied at 50%.
-In the Obama/Cain head to head 8% of undecideds approve of Obama and 76% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Obama would lead only 51-49.
-In the Obama/Palin head to head 5% of undecideds approve of Obama and 84% disapprove. If you allocate them based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Obama would lead only 54-46.
So if you dig deeper into the numbers Obama's position is a lot worse than meets the eye. There's a very good chance Obama would lose if he had to stand for reelection today. If there's a silver lining for Obama it's this- he trailed Romney in our poll last July and then led him for each of the next 11 months. For whatever reason summer and particularly the month of July has not been friendly to Obama in the polls ever since he hit the national stage. So perhaps he'll see another recovery now as he has in the past. But for now he's in one of the weakest positions of his Presidency.
Full results here