Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, run neck-and-neck with President Obama in a general-election matchup, according to a new CBS News poll released late on Monday that shows the two front-runners in Tuesday’s New Hampshire GOP primary running stronger against the president than their fellow Republicans.
Romney posts a two-point lead over Obama, 47 percent to 45 percent, within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. He leads Obama, 45 percent to 39 percent, among independent voters.
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Obama’s lead over Paul is just one point, 46 percent to 45 percent, as Paul leads among independents by 7 points.
The president posts more significant leads over the other GOP candidates, but against each he is below the critical 50-percent threshold: He leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 49 percent to 41 percent; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, 48 percent to 41 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 49 percent to 42 percent; and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., 47 percent to 43 percent.
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Among all adults, just 45 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as president, slightly worse than the 47-percent approval rating he posted last month. Among independents, 38 percent approve of Obama’s job performance, while 49 percent disapprove.
Results released earlier Monday among Republicans who said they intend to vote in their state’s presidential nominating contest showed Romney running slightly ahead of the rest of the field, but nearly a third of Republicans are undecided or seeking a candidate not currently in the race.
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The CBS News poll was conducted Jan. 4-8, surveying 1,413 adults, for a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. The poll includes a subsample of 1.247 registered voters.