The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.

New Post-ABC numbers show Obama leading five of six potential Republican presidential rivals tested in the poll. But he is in a dead heat with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who formally announced his 2012 candidacy last week, making jobs and the economy the central issues in his campaign.

Among all Americans, Obama and Romney are knotted at 47 percent each, and among registered voters, the former governor is numerically ahead, 49 percent to 46 percent.

The president has sought to point to progress on the economy, particularly in the automobile industry, and to argue that the policies he put in place at the beginning of his term are working. But the combined effects of weak economic indicators and dissatisfaction among the public are adding to the political pressures on the White House as the president’s advisers look toward what could be a difficult 2012 reelection campaign.

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