March 28th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama leads Romney and Santorum in November showdowns

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama holds a double-digit lead over GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in hypothetical general election matchups, according to a new poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Wednesday also indicates that the president's approval rating has inched over the 50% mark in CNN surveys for the first time since last May, when the polls were still registering the after effects of the death of Osama bin Laden. The number of Americans who say the economy's in good shape has jumped 13 points since January, though the survey shows a majority still think it is in poor shape.

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If the general election were held today instead of in early November, 54% of registered voters say they would back Obama, with 43% supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner in the GOP nomination battle. That's up from a five-point 51%-46% advantage the president held over Romney in February.

And Obama would have a 55%-42% lead over Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania who's Romney's main rival right now for the nomination. The president led Santorum by a seven-point 52%-45% margin last month.

"President Obama currently wins majority support among groups that have been problematic for him in the past, including men, older voters, and suburbanites," says CNN Poling Director Keating Holland. "He has a solid lead among independents as well."

Remember that the election is not being held today, so the survey is not a prediction of what will happen in the general election.

The poll indicates that Obama is also the only presidential candidate with a personal popularity rating over 50%, with 56% of the public having a favorable view of Obama as a person and 42% seeing him in an unfavorable light. By contrast, nearly half questioned have an unfavorable view of Romney, compared to only 37% with a favorable view. Romney's unfavorable rating is up six points from 43%, where it stood in CNN polling in January.

"Only 35 percent of independents now have a favorable view of Romney," Holland notes.

According to the poll, Santorum' unfavorables outweigh his favorable rating by a 42%-35% margin, and negative views of Santorum have grown every time CNN has measured the favorable rating in polls since last spring.

"The favorable ratings also reveal an institutional advantage for Obama. Forty-eight percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic party, while the Republican party's favorable rating has dropped to just 35%, with nearly six in ten Americans saying they have an unfavorable view of the GOP," says Holland. "To put the Democrat's 48% favorable rating in historical context, the last time the GOP's rating reached 48% was in 2008."

That indicates that the party may still be suffering from a "Bush hangover," and the results of a question on the economy tend to bear that out. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed say that the economic conditions in the country are good - the highest level in more than four years. But nearly seven in ten say the economic conditions right now are poor.

Although Obama has been president for more than three years, 56% of Americans continue to blame former President George W. Bush and the Republicans for the country's current economic problems, with only 29% blaming Obama and the Democrats.

All that may be contributing to a rise in the president's approval rating, with 51% giving him a thumbs-up for his job performance and 45% disapproving how his handling his duties. Obama's approval rating has edged up four points since January, when it stood at 47%.

The enthusiasm gap, which greatly benefited Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections, is a non-factor right now. Sixty-four percent of Republicans said in our October poll that they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in the 2012 elections. That number dropped to 51% in February and is now at 52%. Only 43% of Democrats in October said they were extremely or very interested in voting in the general election. That now number now stands at 46%.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Also see:

Gingrich faults fundraising for campaign changes

Poll: Obama leads narrowly in Florida, Ohio

Leno gets serious with Romney

Pro-Romney super PAC expands ad buys


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. nolimits3333

    Bin Laden is dead, GM is rebuilt, and the economy is recovering.

    Obama has done a very good job.

    March 28, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    There is no Grand Old Party anymore it's been hi-jacked by a bunch of looneys controlled by Teabaggers and the likes of Limbaugh.

    March 28, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. drafter31

    Does everyone have on their rose-colored glasses? Good...

    March 28, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "You know something is wrong with your party when you can no longer attract independents; a previous poster noted that most GOPers would rather vote for "a mop" than Obama. This is fine, and you can go ahead and do that, but independents will NOT follow you and allow you to destroy the country"

    To be honest, I'm having trouble differentiating Mittens from a mop.

    March 28, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. longshot

    And when Obamacare is repealed, the GOP numbers will drop even farther, as people realize children are going to be dropped from coverage, sick denied benefits, elderly losing care, etc.

    March 28, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Drew

    eat your hearts out you fascist whack jobs

    March 28, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. jim

    It probably doesn't mean anything. There may be many people like me. I tell all who ask me that I am going to vote for Obama. Naturally I'm not.

    March 28, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. mfx3

    Obama has made the GOP angrier and nastier than ever before. He's done a wonderful job, and will win in a landslide.

    March 28, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Bin Laden is dead, GM is rebuilt, and the economy is recovering.

    Obama has done a very good job."

    And THAT is why the GOP/Teatrolls are so desperate. They absolutely 100% need to gain the WH so as things continue to get better, they can claim it was all their doing and they deserve all the credit and "just compare these 4 years to the miserable 4 years under Obama yadda yadda yaddaspin lie misinform blah blah blah."

    March 28, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. JT

    Obama has done a Yeomen's job in cleaning up Republican mess. They cannot stand his intellect, decency and high family values

    March 28, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. BIGDADDYJIM

    Bin Laden was already dead in hiding and ineffective, GM still makes cars to sell to the rest of the world where most Americans can not afford to buy a 45k piece of crap. The economy is only recovering on CNN and Msnbc, it is not in the real world.
    Obama is a complete failure.

    March 28, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Bin Laden is dead, GM is rebuilt, and the economy is recovering.

    Obama has done a very good job."

    And THAT is why the GOP/Teatrolls are so desperate. They absolutely 100% need to gain the WH so as things continue to get better, they can claim it was all their doing and they deserve all the credit and "just compare these 4 years to the miserable 4 years under Obama yadda yadda yaddaspin lie misinform blah blah blah." If that doesn't happen and Obama is re-elected, he will clearly be able to grab all the credit and assume a prominent place among top presidents in history and it wil likley result in many people recognizing that alot of the policies he put forth, the ones the GOP/Teatrolls most vehemently opposed, actually work...which will of course reveal that the GOP/Teatrolls actually oppose them BECAUSE they work and didn't want a Dem POTUS to be able to succeed.

    March 28, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. drewatx

    if the polls are this close in March he's in serious trouble.. If he was doing such a good job like some of you think.. he would have double digit leads in every poll – NOT just the one CNN runs on it's staff.. The Economy isnt recovering because of stimulus spending.. its cyclical and any economist will tell you that.

    March 28, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. wecwec

    Republicans – stay debt free and try to get in a position where you can provide for yourself without a paycheck. If the foodstampers vote their guy in – so that he will give them more foodstamps – we can always just stop producing surplus food. They can print all the foodstamps they want – but if we don't produce food for them what are they going to do – eat the food stamps? If they want to plunder most of what you earn (produce) over a certain level, and you can't stop them, just don't earn (produce) over that level. Stop creating the surplus for them to take to bribe their supporters with...and stop working so much... do somthing you enjoy.

    March 28, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. James PDX

    According to the poll, Santorum' unfavorables outweigh his favorable rating by a 42%-35% margin, and negative views of Santorum have grown every time CNN has measured the favorable rating in polls since last spring.

    OK, then, so people aren't quite as stupid as I gave them credit for.

    March 28, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Only reason I'm not demanding a birth certificate for the Ayatollah Santorum is because everyone knows that only an Amurikan could be that freekin big of an arrogantly stupid blowhard.

    March 28, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. bobcat2u

    I am so proud to that the majority of the people are coming to their senses and realize what the republican party has been doing. If it weren't for the unilateral effeorts of President Obama, we would be no where near where we are in the recovey of our economy.
    Keep us on the right track Mr. President. You are doing a wonderful job.

    March 28, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Republican Not Voting for Romney

    Our Prez will be re-elected. Perhaps GOP will have better candidates in 2016, but as of right now, I doubt it. They are trying to push Ryan and Rubio and no way will that work in a general election.

    March 28, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Not Voting for Romney

    That's what I'm talking about double-digit lead. Yeah!!!

    March 28, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Bob, San Jose

    "Remember that the election is not being held today, so the survey is not a prediction of what will happen in the general election."

    The very fact that this statement had to be made in the article is an indicator of one of America's biggest problems – the average intelligence level in this country. Which also explains the slate of Republican candidates. How any sentient being could be swayed by the self-serving conservative fanatics being slung on our plates like so much GOP hash is beyond me. Have pity on the "soon-to-haves", for they know not what they do!

    March 28, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. GMAN-64

    Hey "the1stchastiser" – You're right on the mark man.....who wants someone who's actually accomplished something to be the President. We want an absolute unknown who accomplished nothing and voted "present" at every opportunity so that we can all be losers. In fact things are going great under Obama...in his economy, the elevator is headed to the basement at break-neck speed....congratulations on achieving a successful race to the bottom.

    March 28, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. bobcat2u

    The other thing we need to make do is to give the president his majority in the house and senate, so we won't have all of that republican gridlock again.

    March 28, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. mark

    I can't wait to see the wave of denial – I'm indifferent to Obama personally, but watching the Tea Party squirm is just plain family (values) fun.

    March 28, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. dondijon

    Boy talk about Gulible... Am I the only one to notice that this was an INTERNATIONAL POLL... This means that it has absolutley no credibility whatsoever!!!

    March 28, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Mark B.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha....sure.

    March 28, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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