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The Presidential State of Play

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leaves after meeting with supporters in Bethel Park, Pa., Tuesday, April 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

April 18, 2012

With the general election unofficially underway, this has been the week of fresh presidential polling, with Gallup debuting its daily tracking of the race, and Pew, CNN, Reuters/Ipsos, CBS/NYT releasing their own data.  One trend is clear: The race is poised to be close, and Mitt Romney has the momentum, despite his own notable vulnerabilities.

The Pew survey is the most comprehensive, thanks to its large representative sample and detailed breakdown of demographic subgroups. It's not particularly good news for the president, even though he leads by four points. Obama is winning only 39 percent of white voters against Romney, right at his personal Mendoza line for re-election. Despite the president's populist push, Romney leads Obama 58 to 35 percent among white, non-college voters.  

The one bright spot for Obama is that he's holding the 67 percent of the Hispanic vote he won in 2008 - a prerequisite for him to win a second term. It's no coincidence that Romney (privately) said that Obama winning Hispanics "spells doom for us" at a fundraiser last weekend - and they're the one group that's sticking with the president, for now.

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