It is likely that the president will be ahead by election day, 2012, but this PPP Connecticut poll - a Democratic leaning pollster - should open some eyes among Democrats around the country:
Connecticut isn't a place that would go on anybody's list of swing states but Barack Obama is in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney there, leading only 47-45.
Obama's poor showing in Connecticut is mostly a function of his own unpopularity. Despite having won it by 23 points in 2008 his approval numbers are now under water at 48/49. That represents a 17 point net shift in the wrong direction since PPP last polled the state in March- at that time Obama's approval was a positive 55/39 spread. The decline has come because he's unpopular with independents (41/53) and also because an unusually high 20% of Democrats disapprove of the job he's doing.
Romney's favorability is 41/42, not great numbers but better than he is doing in most states. In the head to head with Obama he takes independents by 12 points at 48-36 and gets crossover support from 14% of Democrats while losing just 9% of the Republican vote.
The competitiveness in Connecticut is limited to Romney. Against the rest of the Republican field Obama leads by double digits- it's 12 points against Rick Perry at 53-41, 13 against Ron Paul at 51-38, 16 against Newt Gingrich at 54-38, and 19 against Michele Bachmann at 55-36.
The numbers in Connecticut shape up as part of a broader pattern- Obama is much weaker in New New England than he was in 2008.
I don't think this is evidence of Romney strength, but rather Obama weakness. Unless it is an election of historic repudiation, Connecticut should be in the Dem column come election day.
Nor does the poll necessarily indicate that Romney would be a better candidate than any other Republican. What he might show as far as competitiveness in New England, he will lose in more conservative states where is he less popular than other Republicans.
One plus for Romney - his ability to run well among independents nationwide. This shows up particularly well in Connecticut and New England where indies tend to be more center left than center right.