Romney might be better in a head to head matchup with Obama, but a couple of others in the field aren't far behind.
For the first time in PPP's monthly national polling since July 2010 Mitt Romney's taken a lead, albeit a small one, over Barack Obama. He's up 47-45.
Romney has two main things going for him. He leads the President 45-36 with independents. And he's also benefiting from a much more unified party with 88% of Republicans committed to voting for him while only 83% of Democrats say they'll vote for Obama.
Our national survey confirms the wide electability gap between Romney and the rest of the Republican candidate field. Obama leads both Newt Gingrich (49-44) and Ron Paul (46-41) by 5 points, Michele Bachmann (50-41) by 9, and Rick Perry (50-40) by 10. It continues to look like if GOP voters really want to defeat Obama they pretty much have to nominate Romney.
One thing that could confound Romney's prospects is if a strong third party candidate entered the race. We find that pretty much all of the big names who have been mentioned for potential independent bids would take a lot more voters from Romney than Obama.
The strongest potential independent candidate we tested is Donald Trump who gets 19% in a three way contest with Obama at 45% and Romney at 31%. The folks who say they would support Trump go for Romney 71-10 in a straight up head to head with Obama. Donald Trump's ego could potentially prove to be Obama's greatest asset for reelection in 2012.
Obama beats all Republicans in the latest CNN poll. And this PPP poll is of "registered voters" not likely voters. I think it safe to say that at this point, that a couple of GOP candidates would be competitive against Obama no matter what, but that Romney holds a slight edge because of his standing with independents.