07/24/2012 08:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obama Leads Romney, But Both Candidates' Negatives Grow

President Obama leads Mitt Romney, 49 percent to 43 percent, in a national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday evening. Among voters in 12 battleground states, Obama led 49 to 41.

The horse race numbers show little change from previous NBC/WSJ polls, as seen on HuffPost Pollster:

The NBC/WSJ June poll, showed Obama ahead by 3 points nationally, putting the difference between the two polls within the margin of error.

What has changed, however, is voters' increasingly negative views of both politicians, in the midst of an increasingly nasty campaign. "Very negative" views of both are now at a record high, with 32 percent holding a "very negative" view of Obama, and 24 percent of Romney.

The pollsters who conducted the survey say those numbers represent unusually high dissatisfaction this early into the race.

“These are numbers you usually see in October," Republican pollster Bill McInturff told NBC News, saying the change reflected increasing polarization.

Many voters credit recent news with souring them on the candidates, with 43 percent saying they'd seen or heard something that made them think less favorably of Romney in the past couple weeks. A nearly identical 44 percent said the same of Obama.

Those numbers are considerably worse than in August 2008, when just about a third of voters said new information had given them less favorable views of Obama and John McCain.

The NBC News/WSJ poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters by telephone between July 18 and July 22, and had a 3.1 percent margin of error.