CNN Poll: Obama tied with Romney & Paul in November showdowns
January 16th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama tied with Romney & Paul in November showdowns

Washington (CNN) – Mitt Romney is all tied up with President Barack Obama in a likely general election matchup, with the president showing signs of weakness on the economy and Romney seen as out of touch with ordinary Americans, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday also indicates that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is also even with Obama in another possible showdown this November. The survey also suggests the Republican advantage on voter enthusiasm is eroding, which could be crucial in a close contest.

See full results (pdf)

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According to the survey, if the November election were held today and Romney were the Republican presidential nominee, 48% say they'd vote for the former Massachusetts governor, with 47% supporting the president. Romney's one point margin is well within the poll's sampling error.

The poll also indicates Paul statistically tied with Obama, with the president at 48% and the longtime congressman at 46%. But according to the poll, the president is doing better against two other Republican presidential candidates. If Rick Santorum were the GOP nominee, Obama would hold a 51%-45% advantage over the former senator from Pennsylvania. And if Newt Gingrich faced off against the president, Obama would lead the former House speaker 52%-43%.

Enthusiasm in voting in the presidential election this November now stands at 54% among registered Republicans, down ten points from last October. Meanwhile, enthusiasm among registered Democrats has risen six points, and now stands at 49%.

"In a race that tight, turnout is likely to determine the outcome, and the Democrats have begun to close the 'enthusiasm gap' that damaged their prospects so badly in the 2010 midterms," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

While the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee have all of the GOP White House hopefuls in their sights, they are directing most of their firepower towards Romney, and the poll indicates why that is the case.

According to the survey, both men are seen as strong leaders, and both are viewed as having the personal qualities that a president should have. Forty-eight percent of Americans say that Obama agrees with them on the issues they care about - not great, but better than the 43% who feel that way about Romney.

"But on the economy - issue number one to most Americans - Romney has a clear advantage. 53% say the former Massachusetts governor can get the economy moving; only 40% say that about President Barack Obama," says Holland. "But the numbers are reversed when voters are asked whether the candidates are in touch with ordinary Americans. Fifty-three percent say that Obama is in touch; only four in ten feel that way about Romney."

Obama and Romney are virtually tied on whether they are seen as strong and decisive leaders. The survey indicates that by a 61%-34% margin, Americans say Romney changes his position on the issues for political reasons. By a 56%-42% margin, the public feels the same way about the president.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from January 11-12, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 928 registered voters, conducted by telephone on January 11-12, 2012. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Paul scores sought after endorsement in South Carolina

DeMint: I will not endorse

Romney nabs Florida endorsement

FIRST ON CNN: Huntsman to drop out


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Polls
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. gg

    If Romney gets gop nomination will be very clear in general election who will fighting for the middle class and who will fighting for the big corporations.

    January 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. John

    Ron Paul is an insane racist that is not capable of runninng anything.

    January 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Eddie

    It seems like this makes the math for Mr. Obama difficult. Since he is likely to win California, Illinois, and New York by wide margins, the GOP nominee can be even and still pull out close wins in FL, PA, OH, MI, etc.

    January 16, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. skarphace

    Romney, Obama, there really is not much of a difference. There is only one candidate that is a fiscal conservative and a social liberal and represents real change. Ron Paul 2012.

    January 16, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. OWS

    My favorite candidate is not running, former Governor, and decorated US Navy SEAL, Jesse Ventura. In all likelihood, my 2012 vote will be for President Barack Obama. Four more years of President Obama is better than any radical Republican on the list. I haven't forgot the not-so-glorious G.W. Bush / Dick Cheney years and really don't think we can afford to go down that road again.

    January 16, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Robin

    I wish we could have a strong independent presidential candidate, instead of the same democrat and republican parties. Out of Obama, Romney, and Paul, I would go for Paul. I also agree with some of the comments on here that these polls don't really mean much.

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Jake

    Breaking News...Mitt Romney has name his running mate for VP...Alfred E. Newman. Romney said...Alfred brings a lot of experience to the ticket, his famous line..."What me worry?" is what I need said Romney. And it's true, I have a lot of money, more than most of you sheep that blindly go where I tell you to go. With Newman at my side, we won't have to worry. Not that I ever had to worry when I have lived a pampered life. Mortgage payments, bills, cost of food and fuel, working at a real job, that's for you peons, not me. Pampered by my Mexican/American father as a baby, pampered going to college, pampered even getting that Bain job. Looking to get pampered even more when I become President. Now out of my way you measly people with your measly problems, I got a life, said Romney.

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Yago

    This shows the the 20% Independents are the ones that choose the President. (and were not count on this poll)

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Carl

    Who cares. Statistically more people claim to be conservative. Obama got elected because of the "historical" of electing a half black guy. He has brought this country down by continuing the path that Bush set out. Obama has no chance. If he does than I am moving from this country.

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. wilson

    If Romney... or any of the current republican candidates get into the Whitehouse, then the US is probably going to be okay in the long run. But the people? They're going to get screwed over bigtime! Seriously... have any of you read what these candidates stand for? It makes me sick to my stomach to think that there is even a remote possibility that any of these zealots could get into power.

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. DrEJG

    ron paul is statistically tied. imagine what would happen if he received the exposure he's earned and deserves. it's a great sign that although MSM has tried to black him out, that our citizens are still paying enough attention to research him.

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Tim

    Another biased article – breaking news banner is "In the latest CNN/ORC International Poll, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tied in a general election matchup." Seemed to have left someone out, right??? Maybe a refresher in journalistic ethics is called for.

    January 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. felix

    Ron Paul should dump the party of clowns and run as an independent. Mittens would be left in the dust.

    January 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    westward - Obama hasn't even started campaigning yet.
    =========================================
    Surely you jest? Can you name a time when he WASN'T campaigning over the last 3 years??? He's been the most partisan hack President this country has ever seen.

    January 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Chace Daley

    So, the option is to either put a Pro-Tarp, Pro-mandate, Pro-Patriot Act, Pro-undeclared wars candidate (Romney) against a Pro-Tarp, Pro-mandate , Pro-Patriot Act, Pro-undeclared wars President (Obama); or put up an Anti-Tarp, Anti-mandate, Anti-Patriot Act, Anti-undeclared wars candidate (Dr. Paul) against Obama.

    You know, I'm no highly-paid pundit, but the Republicans would be wise to get behind this Dr. Paul fella who is quietly grabbing the independents and young voters. Oh, and by the way, they won't jump ship either. Once you understand Dr. Paul's message, you begin to see how inconsequential Romney vs. Obama would be for the future of this soon-to-be-bankrupt country we love.

    January 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Brett

    The only demographic consistently for Obama: socialists who could care less about their rights

    January 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Steve

    Headline on the CNN Front Page Ticker leaves Ron Paul out?

    January 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Devil in the details: These numbers look very good for Obama. He leads in the Northeast and in the West where population is thick, and he leads handily among women and independent voters, even has good indy numbers vs. Dr. Paul. I'd like to see Paul surge ahead to keep it interesting, but I really thought Paul held more of the younger demographic than Obama.

    January 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Jack

    I wanted a more conservative candidate....but I have decided to back Romney. He can get Obama out of the White House, which is what our country needs right now more than anything.

    January 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Grand Oil Party

    Paul is the most dangerous candidate to the military industrial complex. His views on deregulation of business as a whole and his lack of support for public education (my wife is a teacher) make it hard to vote for him personally, but I respect his integrity and honesty. It would be tough to choose between Obama and Paul, but Romney is a total joke. Period.

    January 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Alois

    This poll doesn,t mean anything . When it comes time for the elections the majority of the people have seen how much of a failure loser obama has been and they will come together and vote for whoever is his apponent and remove deadbeat obama before he gets a chance to destroy this country completely. His failed,corrupt, policies haven't worked and most likely made things worse and slowed down the nations recovery . The only way that loser obama can get reinstalled is to rig the elections,again and it seems that they are working on that under the radar.

    January 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Jim R

    Oh, that "unelectable" Ron Paul...

    January 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. T'sah From Virginia

    ►CNN Poll: Obama tied with Romney & Paul in November showdowns◄
    Bring it ON – I love the "dead heats" but many on the right will frown
    When the candidate from the RIGHT is finally picked and the REAL election begins
    President Obama will have his chance – one on one – and his numbers will RISE again!!!

    Even thought this is a "national" poll – the ONLY ones really paying attention are Republicans and political NUTS from the Left like me!!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Mike

    How is this logically possible? From a mathematic standpoint unless I am mistaken. How can 1 percentage equal 2 other percentages?

    If Obama is at 48%, how can Romney have 48% and Paul have 48%. Unless Obama has 48% and Romney has 26% and Paul 26% also which would mean if they got married and ran for president together

    January 16, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. ardee123

    Romney was a governor run a business Obama a 2 year senator and did not run anything except the tele prompter

    January 16, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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