CBS/NYT poll puts Romney up one over Obama

Actually, for all the attention that Mitt Romney’s slight lead will get from the new CBS/NYT poll in the presidential race, this is essentially no different from its April poll of the contest.  Three months ago, CBS/NYT had the two men tied at 46/46 in a D+8 poll, and in last night’s release, Barack Obama trails by one in a D+6 poll.  It shows that Obama’s campaign hasn’t made a dent in the race despite having a massive spending advantage over the last three months — and that’s the bad news from this poll:

President Obama and Mitt Romney are effectively tied in the race for the presidency, according to a new CBS News/New York Times survey.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters nationwide who lean towards a candidate back Romney, while 46 percent support the president. Four percent are undecided. The one percentage point difference is within the survey’s three point margin of error.

Romney leads by eight points among men; the president leads by five points among women.

These results come from the subsample of registered voters, which has a D/R/I of 33/27/41 after the CBS/NYT weighting.  The raw subsample of registered voters had a much more reasonable and predictive 34/31/41, which still oversampled independents relative to the other two categories but at least came closer to a predictive ratio between Democrats and Republicans.  This still improves over their last sample, though, which went from a raw split of 34/31/36 to a weighted 34/26/40.  The one-point shift between the two polls can probably be attributed to the difference in the samples.

Still, Obama needed to throw a knockout punch against Romney while he held a money advantage, and has obviously been increasingly desperate to do so.  The “felon” remark from Team Obama showed just how panicked they have become, probably also seeing no trending changes while they bury Romney with campaign ads.  Not only have they failed to build any momentum, what harbingers there are to find in this poll show stirrings forRomney.  Enthusiasm is up among Republicans and down among Democrats, as I noted yesterday, and Obama’s approval ratings on issues are all under water now:

  • Overall: 44/46
  • Economy: 39/55
  • Foreign Policy: 41/42

The shift downward on foreign policy comes as a bit of a surprise.  Obama has done relatively well in this area with the American public.  Until now, Obama might have found some refuge (as incumbents Presidents often do) in foreign relations, arguing that the challenger would be too inexperienced and disruptive.  That option appears closed off to Obama at the moment, as do practically all other areas of the job.  Romney now enjoys wide leads or virtual ties on almost all areas:

  • Economy and jobs: Romney, 49/41
  • Budget deficit: 50/36
  • Taxes: 47/42
  • Illegal immigration (CBS/NYT term): 46/36
  • Health care: 42/43
  • Terrorism and security: 43/44

Obama only wins on foreign policy (47/40) and social issues (48/37).  Unfortunately for Obama, these are the two least-important issues to voters in this survey.  While Obama has been fighting the Trojan Wars, 27% believe social issues to be “not at all important” in this election, the only issue to get more than 7% in that category.

The Washington Post asks this morning whether Romney can survive the summer.  The better question is whether Obama will have any gas left in the tank when Romney can finally start spending his general-election cash.

Update: Guy Benson notes one particularly disturbing trend for Obama:

Note well that Obama is underwater on the favorability question, generally his strong suit, by double digits.  More Americans are developing a poor overall perception of Obama the man, independent from their misgivings about his leadership. The economic numbers have to be extremely worrying for the White House, as voters’ confidence is again slipping away.  As I mentioned up top, this poll under-sampled Republicans and handed Democrats a 6.5 point partisan advantage.  This would mean the 2012 electorate would be roughly the same as 2008’s, which seems quite unlikely (the party breakdown was even in 2010).  More importantly, the NYT/CBS survey oversampled independents, who will determine this election.  Obama numbers among the indies are abysmal.  Via the crosstabs:

(1) Obama’s job approval among independents is a paltry 35/49.

(2) His economic job approval with indies is 31/61.

(3) Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama head-to-head by 12 points within this group, 47/35 (he’s +9 with leaners).

(4) Obama’s favorability with independents is — wait for it — 28/52 (!), with Romney actually above water at 32/31.
Barack Obama is in deep, deep trouble with indepenents at the moment.  If these numbers hold, and the electorate is a hybrid of the 2008 and 2010 turnout models (which I think is likely), he will lose.

Be sure to read it all.