Barack Obama's numbers in Pennsylvania are the best they've been in 10 PPP polls of the state taken since he was elected President. He now leads Mitt Romney by a 7 point margin in the state, 49-42.
Pennsylvania voters are evenly divided on Obama's performance with 47% approving and an equal 47% disapproving of the job he's doing. That's a big improvement from Obama's numbers in the state over the course of 2011, which came in at 42/53, 46/48, 42/52, and 46/49 on our four polls of the state. Obama's numbers are up across the board when it compared to our November poll- with Democrats he's gone from 69/26 to 74/21, with Republicans he's gone from 9/85 to 15/78, and with independents he's gone from 45/53 to 52/41.
Obama's 7 point lead over Romney in Pennsylvania is a shift from last year when we twice found them tied, once found Romney ahead by a point, and once found Obama ahead by three. In addition to Obama's approval numbers improving, Romney's image has taken a hit in the state over the last 3 months. His favorability numbers were already bad at 32/51, but now they're worse at 30/60. Obama's turned a 2 point deficit against Romney with independents into a 51/38 lead.
The strongest of the Republican candidates in Pennsylvania- for both the primary and general- is Rick Santorum. He's the top choice of 43% of GOP primary voters to 25% for Romney, 13% for Newt Gingrich, and 9% for Ron Paul. Santorum's winning pretty much every segment of the electorate but he's particularly strong with Tea Party voters (49-21 over Gingrich with Romney at 17%), Evangelicals (53-16 over Romney), and voters identifying as 'very conservative' (66-15 over Romney.)
Ron Paul actually does a little bit better than Romney against Obama, trailing by a 6 point margin at 47-41. Newt Gingrich would be the biggest electoral disaster for the Republicans, trailing Obama by 12 points at 51-39.
Obama's still a little shaky in Pennsylvania. Breaking even on his approval numbers in a state that he won by 10 points in 2008 isn't very impressive and his leads over Santorum, Romney, and Paul don't match what he beat John McCain by in 2008. If Romney wins the nomination it seems likely the GOP base will get more unified around him and he'll pull closer to Obama. But it's still the best position we've found Obama in here over the last couple years.
Full results here