PPP's newest national poll finds Barack Obama leading all of his potential Republican opponents, although by slightly smaller margins than he did a month ago.
In the most likely match up Obama leads Mitt Romney 48-44. In February Obama's advantage was 7 points at 49-42. The main difference is that Romney is now taking 15% of the Democratic vote, up from 10% he was getting a month ago.
When Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is included Obama's lead expands to 7 points at 46-39, with Johnson taking 7%. 39% of Johnson voters would support Romney if Johnson wasn't in the picture, while only 18% would go for Obama. I doubt Johnson will really get anywhere close to 7% in the general, but the numbers do make it clear that Obama's base is more committed to him than Romney's is and that any half serious third party bid is more likely to hurt Romney's support.
Reversing a trend of falling favorability numbers Romney's net favorability is -25 this month at 33/58. That's actually a slight improvement from -28 a month ago at 29/57. To put those numbers into some perspective though, we were asked on Twitter this morning whether Romney or George W. Bush is more popular. The answer is Bush by a wide margin. Last month we found 45% of voters rating him favorably to 46% with a negative opinion.
The difference is mainly among Republicans. Bush is at 79/15 with them compared to 49/42 for Romney and there's a good chance once Romney locks up the nomination that the party will unify around him and he'll get closer to Bush. But Bush also does better with independents (36/50 to Romney's 29/58) and they're about equal among Democrats with Romney at 20/71 and Bush at 19/73.
The only Republican who doesn't improve on the margin of John McCain's loss in 2008 is Newt Gingrich, who trails by 8 points at 50-42. Only 28% of voters have a favorable opinion of Gingrich to 61% with a negative one.
Full results here