A Democratic polling firm said President Obama's already weak job-approval numbers are "worse than they appear" and he likely would lose the election if it were held today.
For the first time in a year, Mr. Obama does not lead former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Public Policy Polling's monthly national poll on the 2012 presidential race. They are tied at 45 percent, and Mr. Obama is losing among independent voters by a margin of 49 percent to 44 percent.
Worse for Mr. Obama, PPP said, the "vast majority" of undecideds disapprove of the president's performance. The survey of registered voters was conducted July 15-17.
"There's a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for re-election today," said Dean Debnam, president of PPP. "This is his worst poll standing in a long time, and he really needs the economy to start turning around."
In an interview this week with a Kansas City, Mo., TV station, Mr. Obama said the election will be more about his record than the platform of the eventual Republican nominee.
"Americans understand that we didn't get into this problem overnight," Mr. Obama told KMBC-TV, one of three interviews he gave to regional TV outlets at the White House on Wednesday. "If next November they feel like I've ... been working as hard as I can and have been getting some things done to move us in the right direction, then I'll win. If they don't, then I'll lose."