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As the GOP nominating contest settles, the likely Republican nominee does not fare well against the president, who has been buoyed by good economic news.
A poll released Monday put Barack Obama in the strongest position yet when matched up against Mitt Romney, the Washington Post reported. Fifty-one percent of voters said they would choose Obama, and 45 percent said Romney. Against Newt Gingrich, who was outflanked by Romney in Florida and Nevada, Obama's lead was greater: 53 percent to 45 percent.
Romney, who cruised to victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, has had two solid wins since a stumble in South Carolina last month. But GOP candidates have struggled to overcome messaging issues. The poll inidicated that 55 percent of close campaign watchers say they do not approve of the Republican candidates' talking points.
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Obama gave the annual State of the Union address just last week, and with better-than-expected jobs numbers released last Friday, the poll gave him a job approval rating of 50 percent, which is higher than it has been since May 2011, just after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Good economic news also buoyed voters' approval of Obama's handling of the economy, which was at 44 percent, the highest in 13 months, ABC news reported.
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In addition, Romney's business experience, which is a central component of his campaign claim that he knows how to create jobs, is still a powerful draw among independent voters, who decided the last election. The Post reported: "...by nearly 5 to 1, independents are more apt to view Romney’s business experience as a reason to support rather than oppose him."
But there is still little to become complacent about. Even if most voters still prefer Obama over Romney, "Among registered voters, 49 percent say Obama’s performance warrants a second term; exactly as many say it doesn’t," the Post reported.