President Obama holds a significant lead over each of his potential Republican opponents in the general election, according to a poll released Tuesday by CBS News and the New York Times. That includes Mitt Romney, who was even with Mr. Obama last month.Poll: Obama's ratings rise as economic outlook improves
The new survey shows the president leading Romney by six points, 48 percent to 42 percent, among registered voters. Last month, the two men were tied at 45 percent each.
Mr. Obama's lead over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has surged to a lead in national polls, is eight points: 49 percent to 41 percent.
Romney's drop in support against the president is attributable to a shift among independents. Last month, independents favored the former Massachusetts governor by eight points over Mr. Obama. In the new survey, Mr. Obama holds the edge, leading Romney among independents by nine points.
Voters tend to think both parties are more likely to be headed off on the wrong track than in the right direction, but they are more critical of the Republicans. While just 35 percent think the Democratic Party is headed in the right direction, this number drops even lower - to 26 percent - for the Republican Party. Six in 10 think the Republican Party is off on the wrong track; half say the same about the Democratic Party.Poll: Most GOP voters think long primary hurts nominee
Seventy-three percent of Democrats think their party is headed in the right direction, while 55 percent of Republicans think the same of the Republican Party. Independents think both parties are headed in the wrong direction, though more think this of the Republican Party (67 percent) than the Democratic Party (56 percent).
57 percent of Republican voters nationwide say a drawn-out nomination battle - and the associated attacks on a candidate - would hurt the nominee's chances in 2012.Poll: Most back mandating contraception coverage
According to a survey, conducted between Feb. 8-13, 61 percent of Americans support federally-mandated contraception coverage for religiously-affiliated employers; 31 percent oppose such coverage.Poll: Rick Santorum takes slight lead in GOP race
The number is similar among self-professed Catholics surveyed: 61 percent said they support the Obama administration's rule, while 32 percent oppose it.
Majorities of both men and women said they are in favor of the rule.
Santorum has the support of 30 percent of GOP primary voters in the poll, following by Romney at 27 percent. Ron Paul is now in third at 12 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 10 percent.
The socially conservative former Pennsylvania senator received the backing of just 16 percent of Republican primary voters in a similarly worded question last month, leaving him in third place behind Gingrich.