NBC/WSJ Poll: Obama Holds National Lead

Kyle Leighton

Paul Ryan's debut on the national stage has attracted big crowds and plenty of fawning from Republican leaders. But a new national poll shows his presence on the national Republican ticket hasn't done much to boost Mitt Romney's campaign.

A survey commissioned by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, the first major national polls taken after Ryan became Romney's V.P. choice, shows President Obama with a 4-point lead nationally, 48 percent to 44 percent. A month ago NBC/WSJ showed Obama leading 49 percent to 43 percent.

"Mitt Romney is starting to accumulate a number of negatives on the personal front and issues front," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, according to NBC's FirstRead blog. "Mitt Romney has a lot of repair work to do with his image."

President Obama leads by 0.6 percent nationally in the PollTracker Average.

Ryan's national image is a wash in the poll: 33 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of him; 32 percent have an unfavorable one. Obama is the only other candidate on the presidential ballot with a positive rating in the survey -- 48 percent have a positive view of the president, compared with 43 percent who have a negative one. But Ryan's influence seems to be limited.

"The pick has had less of an impact on voters than previous running mates have had," NBC wrote. "Twenty-two percent say Ryan makes them more likely to vote for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, while 23 percent say he makes them less likely to vote for Romney; 54 percent say the pick doesn't affect their vote either way. That margin (-1) is compared with Joe Biden's in 2008 (+8), Sarah Palin's in 2008 (+9 percent), John Edwards' in 2004 (+21), and Joe Lieberman's in 2000 (+13). Ryan's numbers come closest to Dick Cheney's in 2000 (+2)."

Romney's personal rating has remained negative as more voters make a decision about him. In the current poll, his favorability rating is 38 percent against 44 percent unfavorable. A month ago, it was a 35 favorable/40 unfavorable spit, meaning that Romney's image isn't really gaining ground. "Romney continues to have a net-negative favorable/unfavorable score (38percent/44 percent) -- which no other modern Republican presumptive presidential nominee has had," NBC pointed out.

The NBC/WSJ poll used live telephone interviews with 1,000 registered voters (700 via landline and 300 by cell) conducted Aug. 16-20. It has a sampling error of 3.1 percent.