Washington: For the first time in the run-up to the crucial 2012 presidential election in the US, hot favourite President Barack Obama`s approval ratings have
plunged under 50 per cent and is trailing Republican hunter Mitt Romney.
If November elections were to be held today, a poll survey done by ABC News/Washington Post showed that Obama has reverted to a dead heat in public preferences against Republican White House hopeful Romney.
The poll found that Romney would beat Obama 49 per cent to 47 per cent and was barely running ahead of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
Obama running for the second term has take a hit in ratings on his handling of the economy and damaging political effects from rising prices of gasoline.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) has forecast that gasoline may pick to USD 425 gallon by May and with most of the Americans driving to work, the gas prices could turn into a critical issue in the election year.
The polls favour that Obama`s main rival in the race for the White House would be Romney, who has now won 17 of the 26 states, bagging 455 delegates of 1,444 needed to secure the nomination. Santorum is trailing far behind with only 199