Poll: Romney 49, Obama 46

Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including — for the first time — a slim majority who do so strongly…

In contrast, the poll brings more bad news for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, whose bus tour along the East Coast last week renewed speculation that she might join the race.

Almost two-thirds of all Americans say they “definitely would not” vote for Palin for president. She is predictably unpopular with Democrats and most independents, but the new survey underscores the hurdles she would face if she became a candidate: 42 percent of Republicans say they’ve ruled out supporting her candidacy…

The Post-ABC poll asked Republicans and GOP-leaning independents whom they would vote for if a primary or caucus were held now in their state. Romney topped the list, with 21 percent, followed by Palin at 17 percent. No one else reached double digits, although former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has suddenly shown interest in becoming a candidate, is close, at 8 percent. Without Palin in the race, Romney scores 25 percent, with all others in the single digits.