Prior to Super Tuesday, the GOP was wringing its about the lead that President Obama enjoyed over all the Republican candidates when matched up head to head for the fall election.
But something has happened to Obama's numbers. Rasmussen isn't sure if it is statistical noise or not. But for three straight days, Romney has topped Obama in the Daily Tracking Poll:
For the third consecutive day, Mitt Romney leads President Obama by five points in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. It is still, however, too early to tell if these results reflect a lasting change in the race or are merely statistical noise. Today's numbers show Romney at 48%, Obama at 42%. That matches the largest lead Romney has ever enjoyed over the president. Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).
Romney's support among Republican voters has moved up to 83%, just about matching the president's 84% support among Democrats. However, only six percent (6%) of GOP voters would vote for Obama if Romney is the nominee. Twice as many Democrats (12%) would cross party lines to vote for Romney. The former governor of Massachusetts also has an eight-point advantage among unaffiliated voters.
If Rick Santorum is the Republican nominee, he is up by one point over the president, 45% to 44%. He receives 77% support from Republican voters and is up three among unaffiliateds. Santorum and Romney are the only Republican candidates to lead the president more than one time in the polls. See tracking history for Obama vs. all four Republican candidates.
Santorum and Romney both lead Obama among men but trail among women. Both Republicans trail the president among those under 40 but lead among those 40 and older.
Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance. Fifty-four percent (54%) at least somewhat disapprove.
The problem for the GOP candidate as I see it, is that Obama is very unpopular in very red states where Romney or the GOP candidate would be expected to run up huge popular vote numbers.
But state by state - especially in battleground states - Obama still holds narrow leads. At this point, even with Romney showing some strength against Obama, you would have to make the president a favorite for re-election.