Romney Takes Nevada, But Obama Takes The Lead - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Romney Takes Nevada, But Obama Takes The Lead

YAHOO.COM - This was supposed to be Mitt Romney's week. Back-to-back wins in Florida and Nevada have helped to cement him as the all-but-certain Republican nominee.

Instead, the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll points to President Obama as the biggest winner of the GOP primary contest.

President Obama has snuck ahead of Romney among registered voters, 51 percent to 45 percent. What's more, 50 percent of voters in the new poll approve of Obama's job performance and the same percentage say he deserves re-election. http://abcn.ws/z3pXsy

"Two chief factors are at play," according to ABC News pollster Gary Langer. "One is the economy's gradual but unmistakable improvement, marked by the newly reported January unemployment rate of 8.3 percent - the lowest since a month after Obama took office. The other: questions focused on Romney's wealth, his low tax burden and, relatedly, his ability to connect with average Americans."

Here's a worrisome marker for the former Massachusetts governor: Fifty-two percent of those polled said the more they hear about Romney the less they like him.

Though his GOP rivals appear undeterred by his decisive win in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, Romney is likely to do his best to ignore them - at least on the stump. After brawling with Newt Gingrich ahead of the Florida contest, Romney has, once again, pivoted back to Obama.

It was evident in his victory speech in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Romney mentioned "Obama" or "Mr. President" by name roughly 15 times. He did not mention Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Ron Paul even once, offering only offered a vague reference to the "other people" running for president.

Look for Romney to let his campaign aides and his surrogates do most of the attacking for him. The Romney press shop, for example, unleashed a missive on Sunday accusing Gingrich of "flailing" in his post-Nevada caucus press conference, listing a series of negative headlines.

In the 22-minute long session with reporters, Gingrich pledged to stay in race "all the way to Tampa," and said his goal was to be at about "parity" with Romney in the delegate count after the April 3 Texas primary.

He also didn't miss a chance to unload on Romney, calling him a "a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax-increase, George Soros-approved candidate of the establishment."

But while Gingrich whines, Santorum is campaigning as tirelessly as ever and he has the potential to make some inroads. His effort is also attracting the attention of the Romney high command in Boston.

A second Romney campaign message on Sunday took the form of an opposition research dump slamming Santorum as a "proud defender of earmarks and pork-barrel spending."

But, at least for now, Romney can take comfort: Republicans and Republican-leaning independents support him 39 percent to 23 percent over Gingrich nationally. Another 16 percent back Santorum and 15 percent would vote for Paul. click here to read the full story

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