ABC gives the numbers:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads Obama by a 48 percent to 46 percent margin, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry ties the president at 47 percent. Obama bests Ron Paul by a 47-45 divide and Michele Bachmann by 48-44 split. All results are within a 4-point margin of error.
In polls pitting the President against a generic Republican candidate, the numbers were already close, but the recent Gallup findings indicate that regardless of the Republican — even though each of them espouses very different ideals in some cases — Obama is in trouble. The results seem to confirm the theory that voters may have one thing in mind in 2012: anyone but Obama.
Some of the reasoning behind the poll numbers is that the President’s approval rating on the economy is at an all-time low, and surveys indicate that the economy will be the top issue this election. In a Gallup poll last week, Obama’s approval rating on the economy stood at only 26 percent, while 71 percent disapproved of his performance.
According to Gallup, both Republican and Democrat respondents maintained strict party allegiance, though for the Democrats, it was more consistent in that they choose Obama regardless of who was named the GOP candidate. As for Republicans, however, there was some variation, depending on the candidate. The strongest Republican support — 92 percent — was for Mitt Romney, while only 82 percent opted for Ron Paul. Paul's lower numbers can almost certainly be attributed to the mainstream media’s disregard of him as a legitimate Republican contender, including a virtual media black-out of him that prompted even liberal comedian Jon Stewart to call the media's reporting into question.
Still, the new Gallup poll indicates that no GOP candidate can truly be ruled out, as Independents seem to lean in favor of Paul, Perry, and Romney against Obama. When Obama is measured against Bachmann, however, Independents opt for Obama.
ABC News notes that history shows that these numbers may well change over the course of the next year:
At this point in 1999, George W. Bush was crushing Al Gore in a Gallup match-up, but then barely beat him on election day. Bob Dole was in a dead heat with Bill Clinton in August 1995 before Clinton later beat him by eight points more than a year later. And, in the summer of 1979, Jimmy Carter was tied with Ronald Reagan before getting walloped at the ballot box in 1980.
President Obama’s overall job-approval rating sits at around 40 percent. Gallup reports on the significance of that figure:
This is below the rating that any of the six incumbent presidents re-elected since Eisenhower has had at the time of the presidential election. However, in August of the year before they were re-elected, Ronald Reagan (43%) and Bill Clinton (46%) were both below 50%.
What is ironic about that figure, however, is that more Americans say they would vote for President Obama, as shown in the polls against each Republican candidate, than say they approve of his job performance. Gallup believes that such a situation is possibly a “reflection of the continuing lack of a strong front-runner on the Republican side.”
Today’s Rasmussen Report Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that a mere 21 percent of voters strongly approve of Obama’s performance, while 44 percent strongly disapprove. According to Rasmussen, “the president trails a Generic Republican candidate by five percentage points,” and leads Congressman Ron Paul by a single digit, 39 to 38 percent. Against Sarah Palin, Obama leads by double digits. Rasmussen Report does not have current figures polling the President against Perry, Romney, or Bachmann, but should have those numbers by the end of the day.
Overall, Rasmussen shows 44 percent of voters somewhat approve of the President’s performance, while 56 percent somewhat disapprove.
Still, 2012 election numbers may be influenced by a variety of factors, including the possible addition of new GOP candidates: Some speculate that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former New York Governor George Pataki may all soon join the fray.