Obama even with Romney in new ABC poll

That's the headline from the story about the poll but the real news is being downplayed by the media this morning.

Nearly 60% of Americans think Obama is doing a crappy job on the economy. The same percentage does not believe the American economy is out of recession. And independents "strongly disapprove" of the president's handling of the economy at an astonishing 51% rate.

Washington Post:

Among all Americans, Obama and Romney are knotted at 47 percent each, and among registered voters, the former governor is numerically ahead, 49 percent to 46 percent.

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 another indicator of rapidly shifting views on economic issues, 45 percent trust congressional Republicans over the president when it comes to dealing with the economy, an 11-point improvement for the GOP since March. Still, nearly as many, 42 percent, side with Obama on this issue.

The president has sought to point to progress on the economy, particularly in the automobile industry, and to argue that the policies he put in place at the beginning of his term are working. But the combined effects of weak economic indicators and dissatisfaction among the public are adding to the political pressures on the White House as the president's advisers look toward what could be a difficult 2012 reelection campaign.

This is a snapshot of America at the beginning of the summer of 2011. Anger, frustration, and fear about the economy, the debt, and the future leadership of the country. It isn't that Obama and Romney are neck and neck that's important. It's that Romney is even in the ballpark. Sure, things can change between now and November 2012 - they probably will.

But an incumbent president with several challengers so close on his heels at this point is causing so much concern at the White House that they are already talking about "re-branding" the president - presenting a whole new Obama to the voters to try and make them forget the old one.

Needless to say, that rarely works.