2008 record      


President Obama's edge vs. Mitt Romney shrank to 43%-42%, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll released Friday, his smallest head-to-head lead yet. The Supreme Court's recent ruling has given ObamaCare a small boost while simultaneously hurting Obama's re-election chances.

Obama lost a little support among his base: 86% of Democrats supported him vs. 90% in June. He still trails Romney among independents, 38%-35%, although in June he trailed 43%-36% among swing voters.

Overall, respondents disapprove of his handling of the economy, 41%-32%. Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducted the poll, notes that a record 28% of households have at least one member looking for work. In June it was 23%.

Respondents also sent mixed messages on health care. The June 28-July 5 poll of 825 registered voters began on the day of the Supreme Court ruling. That seems to have given the law a lift. The poll shows 48% support it vs. 44% opposed. In June, 46% opposed it vs. 44% supporting.

"That's consistent with the Kaiser Family Foundation poll, which also found an uptick in support," said Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

But Mayur warns against reading too much into those numbers.

"Support vs. opposition for the health care law has always been pretty close in this poll," he said.

Opposition to the individual mandate is still heavy, 61%-34%.

ObamaCare Swings Voters

Nevertheless, the fact that the law was upheld may be behind Obama's deterioration in the poll.

About 51% of respondents said ObamaCare will be a net cost to their family vs. 33% saying it'll be a benefit.

The ruling may have fired up Republicans more than Democrats. When asked how it would affect their vote, 29% of respondents said they were more likely to vote for Romney vs. 20% for Obama. However, 59% of Republicans said they are more likely to vote for Romney due to the Court ruling vs. 39% of Democrats being more likely to vote for Obama. Independents also broke Romney's way, 26%-14%.

Romney still faces an enthusiasm gap. Just 51% of Republicans back him strongly; 79% of Democrats are big Obama boosters.

"Part of that is residual from the hard-fought GOP primary," said Mayur. "Also, Romney is running right now as the anti-Obama. Thus, a lot of people are supporting Romney not because of his policies but because they are opposed to Obama."

Romney's lead among white voters widened to 50%-35%, up from 48%-39% in June.

"Obama is still below 40% among whites, which is very significant," said Bowman. "Whites will be about 74% of the voting population this year."

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