mitt romney & barack obama*According to the Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney has regained the lead in the Republican presidential contest thanks to new support from conservatives, while evidence emerges that the bitter nomination fight has damaged the GOP candidates’ standing among the wider public, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

The resurgence of Romney, who hadn’t led the Journal poll since November, lays the path for a potential matchup against a president whose own position is strengthening. President Barack Obama’s approval rate hit 50% in the poll, its highest since last May, as more voters expressed confidence in the economy.

The survey, conducted as the GOP contest has taken up contentious issues such as contraception, found signs of fatigue with the process. Even among Republicans, voter interest in participating in the general election has fallen sharply since January, a rarity in an election year, while negative views of the GOP candidates have risen among independents and moderates.

Read/learn MORE at WSJ.com.