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.
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No more old, white people in politics.
Didn't the polls once say Bachmann would be the republican candidate? Then Cain? Then Gingrich? Maybe Perry somewhere in between there?
Obama could not have any worse news then this. He should be up by 30 points. Not good when you are tied this early.
Further evidence that regardless of what the status quo lovers like to believe, Ron Paul can win this thing. He has picked up incredible momentum.
Dr. Ron Paul, please don't give up and don't get discouraged. You will prevail.
Ron Paul 2012 !!
This is nothing but a shameless attempt by CNN to encourage Paul to enter a 3-way race next fall to split the GOP votes.
You have to be born yesterday not to see through this. Shame on you CNN!
Stop killing yourself over this news because No romney or Paul will win a thing, BARACK OBAMA is getting re-elected so stop talking and go vote for him I mean anyway he'll win without your vote so don't bother..thank you
Looking at these last three years, I'd almost think we had a community organizer at the helm....
America, Please...vote for someone that has even the slightest clue what they are doing.
It's scary there are so many people even considering Paul
Who did you poll? Some escaped loons from the republican loony bin .Pauls almost 80years old and wants to live in the horse and buggy days and the other ones just a plain loser and unelectable!!!
I don't put much stock in this poll. I have always voted Republican until the last election and I have no intention on voting Republican in the next. Bush and his nit wit republicans created the problem we are still trying to get ourselves out of.
Therefore no support from me. Incubents will also receive no further support from me. I'm sure there are many more that believe the same way.
Thanks for including Ron Paul in this polling. I noticed he was the only one left out of a similar one by Fox News.
Total BS.... Romney is not electable. Corporate VULTURE
These posts are hilarious, stop it! I love the ones that say the Republicans poll well because they're had all the media coverage – have any of you noticed that it's all been NEGATIVE coverage? It will get more negative as the Democrat cheerleaders who control the media step up their campaign. The US can only hope the voters see through the spin and realize that we are NOT better off than we were 4,000,000,000,000 dollars ago. When my son asks why his generation is being saddled with this impossible debt, all I can do is tell him I didn't vote for any Democrats. What do you liberals tell your kids?
Obama is the lowest rated president for job performance than any other president before elections.
This ORC poll is nonsense. Obama is going to win this election by a landslide. The primaries are a catastrophe for the GOP.
It has taken us three years to get out of the hole GB put us in. Do you realize we almost went into a depression? It will take less than 4 months for any GOP president to set us back like we were three years ago? Be careful how you vote. We are just now beginning to see the light.
I have a phd in business, and my wife a master's in education. We have worked since our teens and never received any type of assistance. I never considered ourselves "liberals". We are a little younger than the Obamas and have 2 children. Mitt Romney's desire to become the next POTUS strikes us as disingenous with hidden agendas/motivations.
At this time we both are planning to cross party lines and vote for President Obama in 2012.
Of course republican enthusiasm is down. The establishment GOP is making sure we end up with Romney (Obamalite) as our nominee. The GOP will lose what should be a sure thing, only because the establishment GOP decided to play it safe.
This is great news! I am/was a democrat, but Obama is not the guy this country needs, that much is obvious and Ron Paul is the only one that I think will change this country for the better. The establishment is scared, too, very scared, and I think they will have to do something pretty dramatic,...like stage another terrorist attack on America or crash the dollar enabling Obama to use his new dictator powers, or just simply rig the vote, to keep Paul from getting elected. As you can see, I have very little trust in our scheming govt.
When other democrats find out that Paul also stands for Peace, Change, no bail outs, funding welfare instead of bankrupting, and personal freedoms, boy wouldn't that be a sight.
Romney = Obama...there is basically no difference between them in the plans they have and the past history in voting for legislation.
Paul is the only different candidate from these 2.
Its either Obama or Romney
Voting for any other GOP candidate is a vote for Obama because no other candidate is viable
This is a flawed poll because it comes on the heel of Republican primaries where more people that would normally vote Republican are the respondants. After these primaries, you will see Obama's poll numbers WAY up.
It is simply SHOCKING to see how biased media is in this country. They are simply trying to sell a rich corporate guy who is sitting on a quarter billion dollars personal wealth and can buy out anything – Mitt Romeny. And Ron Paul a veteran, 11 term congressman, doctor and more than that – AN EXTRAORDINARY ECONOMIC EXPERT of our times who told in what direction american economy is heading EIGHT years before everyone realized. He has been consistent and fighting against wrong direction capitalism was taking with powerful lobbying and bailouts. Media totally ignores him and even if they cover him, they try to pictureize him as a lunatic or "unelectible" – I dont know what that term means in a democratic election.