The latest from PPP, because it’s getting buzz:
PPP’s first national poll of 2012 finds Barack Obama with his best standing against Mitt Romney since last May, right after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Obama leads Romney 49-44.
It’s not as if Obama’s suddenly become popular. He remains under water with 47% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. But Romney’s even less popular, with only 35% rating him favorably while 53% have a negative opinion of him. Over the last month Romney’s seen his negatives with independents rise from 46% to 54%, suggesting that the things he has to say and do to win the Republican nomination aren’t necessarily helping him for the general. Obama’s turned what was a 45-36 deficit with independents a month ago into a 51-41 advantage.
I would not be overly concerned about this, not least because head-to-head polling is basically meaningless at this point in the cycle. Obama does not break 50%, despite PPP’s sample containing 41% Democrats — a couple of points higher than Dem turnout in 2008, let alone 2004 or 2000. Republicans are 35% of the sample, which would be about average. And the poll wants us to believe that Obama is not popular, but surged 15% with Indies in a single month. I would want to see that replicated in other polls before I buy it, particualrly since the only other poll this year to date with a Obama +5 result is the traditionally Obama-friendly reuters/Ispos poll. Tom Jensen is focused on Mitt’s unfavorables, which could be the Bain issue, but may also represent a lot of conservative disgust with Romney’s increasingly-likely nomination. It would also be interesting to know who the 7% undecided are, because Jensen previously told us it was disproportionately Republican in 2011 polls of swing states.