Dangerous territory for Obama even if it is a year out from the election. If, as expected, the economy doesn't improve very much, that judgment will only grow once the GOP settles on a specific candidate.
Half of all Americans believe President Obama should not be reelected, although the president leads all Republican challengers in head-to-head matchups, according to a new AP-GfK poll.
The poll found that 50 percent of those surveyed said Obama should not be given a second term, while 46 percent believed he should be, underscoring the president's slide since the bitter debt-ceiling debate this summer.
But in a matchup with Mitt Romney, the Republicans' current leading candidate, Obama led by a 48 percent to 45 percent margin. His leads were greater with Herman Cain (49 percent to 42 percent) and Rick Perry (51 percent to 42 percent), the other top-tier Republican candidates.
The Obama campaign has clearly taken note of both their sliding poll numbers and the former Massachusetts governor hovering within close striking distance, ramping up attacks on Romney over the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the Obama campaign team slammed Romney for saying that the government should allow foreclosures to happen to drive down home prices, and said that Romney's "core principle" was getting elected.
Romney's campaign returned in kind, saying the president was "more interested in saving his own job" than fixing the economy.
Cain and Perry don't have the name recognition that Romney does, which probably accounts for at least part of the discrepancy between the two conservatives and the former Massachusetts governor in their head to head match ups with the president. By this time next year, if Cain or Perry is the nominee, that won't be a problem.
Also note that the incumbent has failed to crack 50% support against Romney and Cain - another sign of weakness. With his approval hovering around 40%, the president has an uphill climb to convince enough Americans he deserves a second term.