Dwindling support from independents has cost President Obama his onetime edge over a generic Republican opponent, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press that found voters evenly split over his reelection.
The survey showed 41 percent favor Obama winning a second term, while 40 percent prefer a Republican getting elected in 2012. Obama held a 11-point lead in May, after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The drop-off in Obama's rating stems from disenchantment among independent voters. Just 31 percent want him to win another term, down from 42 percent in May. For the first time, a majority of independents (54 percent) disapprove of his job performance.
In the Republican primary race, Mitt Romney still leads the pack with 21 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 12 percent, Sarah Palin with 11 percent, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., with 9 percent. Perry and Palin have not yet announced whether they are running.
The national poll of 1,501 adults was conducted July 20-24 and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points. The poll surveyed subsets of 1,205 (margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points) registered voters, and 546 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters (margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points).