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Obama camp uses dipping polls to launch cash push

15 march 2012, 12:40
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US President Barack Obama greets supporters in a hangar after disembarks from Air Force One under a rainfall at the Ellington Airport in Houston, Texas. ©AFP
US President Barack Obama greets supporters in a hangar after disembarks from Air Force One under a rainfall at the Ellington Airport in Houston, Texas. ©AFP
Barack Obama's campaign team on Tuesday seized on a new poll showing dipping support for the president to fire up his supporters and shake out a new batch of campaign cash, AFP reports.

"If the general election were held today, President Obama would lose to Mitt Romney -- according to the latest poll from Washington Post-ABC News," said Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager in an email to supporters.

Messina allowed that other polls put the president in better shape, and said there was no need to overreact, but hammered home the campaign message that November's election could be "tighter than you think" in a bid to stamp out any complacency among Obama partisans.

"We cannot underestimate someone like Romney who has shown he will spend and say anything to win," Messina wrote.

"If the idea of a President Romney scares you, it's time to own a piece of this campaign," Messina said, appealing to donors to donate three dollars or more to Obama's war chest.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll this week found that Obama's recent gains in popularity were being undermined by rising gasoline prices, pegging his approval rating at 46 percent, down from 50 percent a month ago.

Two-thirds of those asked said they disapproved of the way Obama was handling rising pump prices.

Messina did not mention another poll, conducted by the New York Times and CBS which bore alarming news for Obama, putting his approval rating at 41 percent.

Incumbent presidents generally require an approval rating of around 50 percent to feel comfortable about their reelection hopes.

Senior Obama aides said privately that the New York Times poll did not concur with their own surveys of the state of the race between Obama and his potential Republican opponents.

But they believe that November's election will be close due to uncertain economic conditions and the fact that America appears to be a nation split ideologically almost down the middle.

Messina launched his appeal on another difficult night for Romney in the race for the Republican nomination, as the former Massachusetts governor lost out to conservative favorite Rick Santorum in latest nominating contests in Alabama and Mississippi.

Romney, given his lead in nominating convention delegates, fundraising prowess and perceived advantages with independent voters is however still seen by the Obama campaign as the president's most likely opponent in November.

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