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President Obama leads Mitt Romney in latest poll

A new poll released Monday shows former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been battered by a combative Republican primary season and now trails President Obama by 10 points in a hypothetical general election matchup.

The national survey, conducted by Suffolk University, showed Obama with a 47-37 lead over the GOP frontrunner. Seven percent of respondents said they would vote for a third-party candidate, and another 7 percent were undecided.

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Obama leads former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by 14 points, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by 19.

The toll of Romney’s intraparty battles with Santorum and Gingrich has been heavy, according to David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

“The Republican primary process has been so divisive that frustrated voters are saying that they would rather vote for a third-party candidate than one of the Republicans, which clearly benefits President Obama,” Paleologos said in a statement that accompanied the poll. “Romney’s unfavorables have shot up over the past year, while Obama’s core numbers have held in the mid-high forties.”

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In 10 months, Romney’s unfavorable rating has climbed by 12 points, according to Suffolk. And 43 percent of likely voters said they are now less likely to vote for any Republican in the general election because of the testy GOP primaries.

One reason for the souring, Paleologos suggested, is that Republican candidates are out of step with most voters on Obama’s 2009 health care law. Despite Republicans’ claim that their mission to repeal Obamacare is a reflection of the public will, only 34 percent of likely voters in the Suffolk poll said they believe the law should be wiped off the books. About a third did say the law should be modified.

“Although ‘repeal’ is the buzz word for the most conservative Republican primary voters, the poll tells us that, among the broader electorate, only a minority want to repeal it, and a majority say it has made no impact, or a positive impact, on their lives,” said Paleologos.

Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@gmail.com.
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