Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has surged to a clear lead in the Republican race for the presidential nomination, but his party’s attacks on President Obama’s economic stewardship have yet to shake the president’s lead over the GOP, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Wednesday.

At the same time, rising anxieties over the economy continue to erode the political environment for the president, pointing to a tight re-election fight.

“The president has substantial advantages but is still in for a very difficult race,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who co-directs the Journal/NBC News poll with Democrat Peter Hart.

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