I have to give Markos Moulitsas credit for posting this result. He could have taken the easy way out and had PPP release it independently. And looking within the depths of this poll result, you have to know how much it pained him to follow through on the likely-voter survey Markos commissioned (via Twitchy):
The candidates for President are Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. If the election was today, who would you vote for?
Obama 47 (49)
Romney 49 (45)
That’s a pretty disastrous six-point net swing in just a week, and the first time we’ve ever had Romney in the lead. It is inline with all other national polling showing Romney making gains in the wake of his debate performance last week.
The sample is a D+3, which is on its own a reasonable model for the turnout in four weeks, but the D/R/I is 40/37/23. That significantly undersamples independents, which becomes an issue when one sees how independents break out in the election. Romney has a six-point lead among independents, 48/42, and that low number for Obama will become a real problem in four weeks, as late deciders usually break hard for the challenger and away from the incumbent. Independents disapprove of Obama’s job performance by a wide margin, 34/55 (he’s at 43/53 in the overall survey), and the Democratic Party doesn’t fare well among indies either, with a 33/50 approval rating — which is, to be fair, about identical to how they view the GOP, too (33/51). By an even wider margin, likely independent voters believe the country is on the “wrong track,” 29/62. Those are not re-elect numbers for an incumbent who won independents by eight points in 2008.
The gender numbers aren’t looking particularly good for Obama, either. In 2008, he won women by 13 points and edged John McCain among men by one, for a total gender gap of 14 points. In the new PPP/dKos poll, Obama only leads among women by six, and trails among men by twelve. That’s a -6 overall gender gap for Obama, and a 20-point reversal from 2008 … with only four weeks left to go. Romney’s winning every income demographic except those making less than $30,000 a year, in which he’s only down by 15 points.
Most importantly, Romney’s leading in the swing states identified by PPP/dKos by five points, 51/46. That may not be very solid — it looks like PPP used subsamples of their polling, which means the samples for those swing states had to be pretty small — but it’s not a pleasant result for Team Obama or the readers of dKos, either. The independent demos will be more of an indicator as to what’s coming. If Romney has a six-point lead among independents in a cycle where Republican enthusiasm is now significantly outstripping Democratic enthusiasm, Romney’s going to do better than a +2.