In his efforts to woo the most conservative members of the Republican party, Mitt Romney appears to be losing his edge with independent voters, who are flocking to the GOP's main opponent — President Barack Obama.
A Pew Research Poll released Monday shows 51 percent of independent voters would cast ballots for Obama in a general election, a substantial gain compared to a month ago, when just 40 percent of independents said they preferred Obama to Romney. In a general election matchup, Obama leads Romney by eight points.
For Romney, the likely culprit for the slide is public perception.
Pew reports that the number of voters who trust Romney and view him as an honest candidate has fallen 12 points in the past month, while the number of voters who perceive him as untrustworthy has grown substantially, from 32 percent to 45 percent.
The poll also shows that voters are concerned about Romney's business background. In November, 58 percent of independent voters polled said they believed Romney was prepared to be president. That number has dipped to 48 percent. [Virginia is for Lovers—and Politicos.]
To make matters worse, Romney's doesn't seem to be appealing to evangelical conservatives. Thirty percent of those polled prefer Rick Santorum, compared to 28 percent for Romney. [See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]
Romney does better than Santorum against Barack Obama. Santorum trails the president by 14 points. Newt Gingrich loses by an even wider margin, with Obama holding a 58 percent to 34 percent margin.