Rasmussen tracking poll shows Romney and Santorum within 2 points of Obama

posted at 10:30 am on February 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

For all of the talk about the damage being done from a spirited Republican primary to GOP hopes, at least one indicator shows both leading candidates making gains against Barack Obama in polling.  Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll regularly tests head-to-head general-election matchups, and both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum register at or near their strongest position:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15 (see trends).

In potential Election 2012 matchups, both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have pulled to within two points of the president. Obama leads Romney 45% to 43% and if Santorum is the Republican nominee, the president leads 46% to 44%. Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

Today’s results are the closest Romney has been since shortly after the Florida primary. For Santorum, only once in polling since July 2011 has he performed better in a polling matchup than today.

That’s not the only good news for both Republicans from pollsters today.  Gallup’s new national poll has very good news for Santorum, and a silver lining for Romney:

Rick Santorum now holds a 10-percentage-point lead in Gallup’s Daily tracking of national Republicans registered voters’ preferences for the 2012 GOP nomination.

In the Feb. 15-19 Gallup Daily tracking rolling average, Santorum is ahead of Romney by 36% to 26%, with Newt Gingrich at 13% and Ron Paul at 11%. This marks Santorum’s largest lead to date. Santorum had moved to within two points of Romney, 30% to 32%, by the end of last week.

Prior to Santorum’s surge, Romney led Santorum 37% to 16% in Gallup Daily tracking ending Feb. 6, the day before Santorum won primaries and caucuses in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado.

The good news for Romney?  The electability argument still carries a lot of weight:

In a separate USA Today/Gallup survey conducted Feb. 16-19, all Americans were asked which of the two candidates — Romney or Santorum — they believed would have the best chance of beating Barack Obama in November. Overall, 54% of Americans named Romney and 29% chose Santorum.

Fewer Republicans are undecided on this issue, leaving 58% who say Romney has the best chance of beating Obama, while 32% choose Santorum.

However, the Rasmussen results tend to indicate that both candidates would have roughly equal standing against Obama in a general election, at least at the moment among likely voters.  The USA Today/Gallup results are based on perception of the candidacies rather than actual support in a head-to-head matchup.  It’s a measure of the Romney campaign’s success that this perception remains so strong in the minds of voters, but if Romney loses Michigan and Arizona next week to Santorum, it’s a perception that may not last for very long.  As long as it remains, though, this perception will exert a significant amount of influence on undecided voters in those states to break Romney’s way in the final days and hours before their primaries.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 3

Comment pages: 1 3