A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows one of the biggest national leads for President Obama since the general election campaign began in earnest — a 10 point lead, 51 percent to presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 41 percent. Pew registered a 7 point lead for Obama in their June survey.
The bump for Obama seems to come from Romney’s stumbling — Pew picked up a downward trend in the former governor’s favorability rating, which has long been a struggle for Romney.
“By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney,” Pew wrote. “The poll, conducted prior to Romney’s recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine months in which his image has been in negative territory. While Romney’s personal favorability improved substantially between March and June - as Republican voters rallied behind him after the primary season ended-his image has again slipped over the past month.”
But while Pew shows Obama actually building a lead nationally (other pollsters have shown the race dead even) they also find the campaign becoming more competitive in swing states. In a sample of voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Obama’s lead is cut to 4 points, 48 percent to 44 percent. In Pew’s June poll, the battleground lead matched the national, 7 points, 51 percent to 44 percent.
Pew also pointed to the historic nature of Romney’s issue with his personal rating. “Romney faces a more daunting challenge, as more voters say they have an unfavorable
(52%) than favorable (37%) opinion of him,” pollsters wrote. “The only prior presidential candidates to be viewed negatively going into the election were George H.W. Bush in October 1992 and Bob Dole in October 1996.”
Still, Romney maintains a small 2 point lead with crucial independent voters nationally, 45 percent to 43 percent for the president, and can still gain ground with self-described conservatives. Currently Pew shows him losing 27 of those voters to Obama.
The Pew poll used live telephone interviews with 2,508 Americans (1,505 by landline, 1,003 via cell) nationally, 1,956 being registered voters, conducted from July 16th to the 26th. It has a sampling error of 2.8 percent overall, and a 3.2 percent margin of error for the registered voters.
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.