UPDATED: It's a cruel, cruel summer

The horse race is getting away from Mitt Romney:

Currently, 51% say they support Obama or lean toward him, while 41% support or lean toward Romney. This is largely unchanged from earlier in July and consistent with polling over the course of this year. Across eight Pew Research Center surveys since January, Obama has led Romney by between four and 12 percentage points.

This is because...stuff matters:

By a 52% to 37% margin, more voters say they have an unfavorable than favorable view of Mitt Romney. The poll, conducted prior to Romney’s recent overseas trip, represents the sixth consecutive survey over the past nine months in which his image has been in negative territory. While Romney’s personal favorability improved substantially between March and June – as Republican voters rallied behind him after the primary season ended– his image has again slipped over the past month.

Romney's overseas trip may have shown too many independent voters that the guy is just not ready for prime time.

UPDATE:  UPDATE: We've been getting emails from readers pointing out that the sample of the poll is skewed toward Democrats. This is a fair point: the poll does sample significantly more Democrats than Republicans. As I noted above, these results are different than the mostly static numbers we've seen so far -- the sampling numbers explain why.

Maybe instead of doing a scientific poll Pew just asked a bunch of people that they know -- they are super liberal over there, even if they are playing with Sunoco's fortune. The headline still works: It has been a cruel summer for Romney...just not always fair, which can be the cruelest cut of all.