President Barack Obama is running statistically even with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 12 key swing states and is slightly ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businessman Herman Cain, according to the USA Today/Gallup poll released Friday.
The poll, which looks at both national trends and at the races in the 12 battleground states that will likely determine the 2012 election, paints a picture of Obama facing a tougher road to re-election than an incumbent should.
But the president, a Democrat whose approval rating has been in the low 40-percent range in recent months, can take heart from the poll’s findings that he is running better against specific Republican candidates than he does against a generic Republican, indicating that when faced with a real choice, voters seem to prefer Obama to Romney, Perry or Cain.
According to the poll, Obama is tied among national voters with Romney at 47 percent and leads Perry 49 percent to 45 percent.
In its first measurement of Cain, the poll found Obama ahead 48 percent to 46 percent.
The poll was taken before reports surfaced that two women received financial settlements after complaining that Cain had sexually harassed them.
The poll, taken Oct. 26-27, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.