Barack Obama's having a good polling week. We found him leading Mitt Romney by 4 points nationally and 7 points in Ohio last weekend. And our newest Missouri poll finds the state may retain its swing state status for 2012. Obama and Romney are now tied there, a change from all of PPP's 2011 polling in the state which had found the Republican leading.
Obama's Missouri approval rating is 45% with 50% of voters disapproving. That -5 spread represents a 5 point improvement from PPP's last poll of the state in September when he was at -10 with 43% of voters approving of him and 53% disapproving. That's improvement but Obama still has a lot of work to do. He's at only 40/54 with independents and Republicans are more unified in their disapproval of him (91%) than Democrats are in their favor (83%).
Obama trailed Romney 47-43 in the fall, but has now pulled even in the state at 45%. He's benefiting from the fact that Romney is unpopular in the state. Only 30% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 54% who view him negatively. Even in states that went for John McCain in 2008 Romney's not proving to be a particularly popular figure.
Obama leads the rest of the Republican field in Missouri. The GOP hopeful who does best other than Romney is Ron Paul who trails the President 45-43. Paul does the best with independent voters of any of the candidates, leading Obama 47-36. Rick Santorum trails Obama by a 47-44 margin.
The one candidate who would be a total disaster for Republicans in the state is Newt Gingrich, who trails Obama 49-42. Gingrich is the only candidate Obama leads with independents and the only one he gets double digit Republican support from. This is yet another data point suggesting that if Gingrich were somehow to win the GOP nomination, Obama would receive over 400 electoral votes.
After a disastrous year for Missouri Democrats in 2010 some folks wrote off the state as a possible win for Obama in 2012. We'll have to see if this week's numbers represent a temporary bounce or something more long lasting, but at least for now it looks like he could again make the state competitive this fall.
Full results here