Obama ties Romney in new poll, loses among independents

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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President Obama is losing support from independent voters, according to a national Public Policy Polling poll released Wednesday, which found the sitting president losing in a match-up against Republican contender Mitt Romney among independents.

Overall, Obama’s numbers are mixed. He has a 46 percent approval rating and 48 percent disapproval, and he beats every candidate except for Romney in a head-to-head race. Obama ties with the former Massachusetts governor, with each pulling 45 percent of the vote.

But as PPP points out, the devil is in the details.

Just 44 percent of independent voters say they approve of the job Obama has done as president, while 49 percent disapprove. But those voters give Romney fairly high marks – with 45 percent saying the hold a favorable opinion of him, and 39 percent saying they hold an unfavorable view. In a head-to-head race, Romney would beat Obama among independent voters – 46 percent to 37 percent.

Tim Pawlenty also gives Obama a run for his money among independents, taking 41 percent of the vote to Obama’s 42 percent, suggesting that Pawlenty could be a stronger general election candidate than he has seemed lately. The former Minnesota governor performs significantly less well among the population as a whole, losing to the president by nine percentage points.

For the moment, Romney is the only candidate that seriously challenges Obama among the overall electorate. Obama easily beats the other candidates polled – Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Pawlenty, and Sarah Palin (he beats Palin by the largest margin). (Perry group gains presence for Iowa straw poll)

The poll surveyed 928 registered US voters using robo-calls made between July 15 and July 17. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.