Whether Republicans can take advantage of that vulnerability remains to be seen–signs thus far have not been promising–but if the president wins re-election, it won’t be because he is some kind of political titan:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 26% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -16 (see trends). That’s the president’s lowest rating in over a month.
Matchups between President Obama and GOP hopefuls shift along with the president’s Job Approval ratings. As a result, with the president’s overall approval ratings down six points since Valentine’s Day, the general election polling is looking weaker for the incumbent. It remains to be seen, of course, if this is merely statistical noise or a lasting change signaling that the president’s recent bounce in the polls has come to an end.
For the first time since late December 2011, Mitt Romney leads the president in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. Romney earns 45% of the vote, while the president attracts support from 43%. Romney holds a nine-point advantage among unaffiliated voters.
For the first time ever, Texas Congressman Ron Paul also leads the president. In that matchup, 43% prefer Paul and 41% Obama. Ten percent (10%) would vote for some other option, a figure that includes 17% of Republicans.
If former Senator Rick Santorum is the Republican nominee, the president leads by two, 45% to 43%. With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his opponent, the president enjoys a 10-point lead, 49% to 39%. Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). See tracking history for Obama vs. all four Republican candidates.
Only a lead of two over Santorum? That ought to make staffers on Team Obama panic irrespective of the way in which Republican presidential candidates are self-immolating.
Oh, and that health care reform bill? Not very popular:
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill’s passage “a bad thing” and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do.