Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 2 points among registered voters in the first 2012 iteration of Gallup’s daily presidential tracking poll. The international polling firm has perhaps the largest influence in tracking American public opinion.
“The race breaks down into the expected patterns by party, with 90% of Democrats supporting Obama, and 90% of Republicans supporting Romney,” Gallup wrote in its analysis. “The Republican results show that despite the rancor and divisiveness of the Republican campaign, the vast majority of Republicans are backing Romney in the head-to-head battle with Obama, as they have in ballot tests earlier this year. The crucial voting bloc of independents breaks toward Romney by 45% to 39%, giving the GOP challenger his slight overall edge.”
Gallup joins Rasmussen Reports as the the only polling organization that produces daily numbers on the presidential match-up. Rasmussen has been surveying the 2012 race since late January, using 500 interviews per night with likely voters over a three-day period and averaging the sets for a total. Gallup will sample 1,000 registered voters over a five-day period. Rasmussen has predominantly shown a small lead for President Obama since it has been polling the race daily, with small periods of a lead for Romney, including the current three-day run.
Other national polls, with the exception of the latest Fox News survey released Thursday, have shown President Obama with a high single-digit lead over the last month. Pew and Suffolk found a double-digit lead for Obama in March. Obama’s numbers climbed after the Republican primary process began and Romney’s favorability rating, which pollsters often identify as the best measure of a candidate’s standing among voters, tanked. A large gender gap with women has been a major issue for the former Massachusetts governor since the debate over contraception took the national stage during the first part of the year.
While Romney’s rating remains unfavorable nationally, President Obama continues to struggle with his job-approval rating. Though it has rebounded since the debt-ceiling fight in summer 2011, which took a bite out of most politicians’ approval numbers, Obama’s approval ticked up over some successful battles with Congress over the payroll tax cut, the successful withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and positive economic news. His current approval rating, according to the TPM Poll Average, is 47 percent approval to 48.4 percent disapproval.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.