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Public Policy Polling (PDF). January 13-16, 2012. Likely voters. ±3.7%. (Dec 16-18, 2011 results):
President Obama: 49 (45)
Mitt Romney: 45 (47)

First of all, we're pretty close to that phase of the 2012 campaign where we can stop looking at Republican primary polls and start focusing on Mitt Romney versus President Obama—and this isn't a bad way to start.

President Obama owes his standing primarily to his ability to keep a slightly positive favorable rating and voter's general disdain for Mitt Romney. Obama's most recent net favorable rating is +2 (49 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable). Mitt Romney's net favorable rating is -18 (35 percent favorable, 53 percent unfavorable).

PPP's Tom Jensen says Obama has "claimed the middle," leading Romney 68-27 among moderates and 51-41 among independents. There's a huge gender gap in the poll: Obama leads by 14 points among women—but Romney leads by 6 among men.

Also worth noting, if only because it will fire up Paulites: Ron Paul does better in this poll than Mitt Romney. Both trail by 5 points, but against Paul, Obama gets 47 percent, 2 points less than he does against Mitt Romney.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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