A new poll indicates the extended GOP nomination fight is helping President Barack Obama.
Obama’s approval rating is 53 percent, up 9 points in four months, according to a new Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll.
In Republican match-ups, Obama leads Mitt Romney by 10 points (53-43) and Rick Santorum by 11 (53-42). Against a generic GOP rival, Obama is still up by 5 points.
“We’ve not been talking about which would do a better job of running against Obama. We’ve been talking about who is the most or who is the least conservative,” Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group told Politico.com. “That is a problem for Republicans.”
The bad news for Obama comes in these numbers: a third of Americans believe the country is on the right track. That's very low for a president early in an election year but still double the number that said the same in November.
For Mitt Romney, the news is not good.. Only 33 percent of independents view him favorably, compared with 51 percent who see him unfavorably. Romney gets 37 percent to the President's 49 percent among the crucial independent vote.
Among Republican voters nationally, Santorum narrowly edges out Romney, 36 percent to 34 percent. Newt Gingrich is a distant third with 13 percent, and Ron Paul gets only 7 percent.
Among independents, Santorum gets good news. Some 40 percent view him favorably, with the 32 percent view him unfavorably.
But he remains largely undefined: 28 percent of independents either have no opinion of the ex-senator or have never heard of him. Even among Republicans, that number is 17 percent.
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