March 28th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
8 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. Ron

    Now let the crying Republicans begin

    March 28, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Ron

    I wonder if this would be a CNN Breaking News headline if the numbers were the other way around.....

    March 28, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Metron

    The problem with the GOP is that they are so pro-Corporation and not so much for the private citizens. The problem with the Democrats is they are so pro-self and not so much for the private citizens. It's time for a revolution.

    March 28, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Snoopz

    Surprise.. CNN publishes yet another skewed poll..

    March 28, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Wade

    Great! Your propaganda is working! Keep up the good work so we can all depend on the Federal Government to provide everything in our lives!

    March 28, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Alaska

    Romney has no chance !

    March 28, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Guest

    President Barack Obama is the better choice for sure. He's way better than Romney & Santorum. Although....I would like to see Ron Paul be his vice president. Obama/Paul 2012....now that would be great

    March 28, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. kaytlen7

    1,041 folks huh.... demographics? Or were these international folks again?

    March 28, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    This according to the 100 CNN employees they just surveyed.. Give me a break please.. if that's the case we have a lot of stupid people in this county.. not counting the CNN staff

    March 28, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    After George W., it's easy to look good.

    March 28, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Me

    LOL. Imagine that. A CNN poll being the only poll showing Obama ahead of Romney.

    March 28, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Patchw3rk

    As someone who will most likely vote for Obama I think this is good news. However, just a few weeks ago they were running neck and neck. There are still 7 or 8 months left until the election which is an eternity in terms of politics. I heard the odds makers in Vegas are giving him a 60% chance of being re-elected. I think that information is probably more useful than current polls which are tending to fluctuate quite a bit.

    March 28, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. tashable

    there is one way was to turn that around.....Ron Paul VP

    March 28, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. App

    Obama 2012!

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Jeanette

    surprise surprise.

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Ron

    @Ron – The other Ron – That would never happen because the Repukelicans cant win in November so why does it matter.

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Jimulacrum

    I hear that Ron Paul is doing quite well by this very same measure. It would certainly be newsworthy if he were outperforming Romney and/or Santorum, wouldn't it?

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. We're not in Kansas anymore

    Dang, these polls are a roller coaster ride.

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Scott

    Seriously? The 1,014 adults polled must be employees of CNN around the country...

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Chris

    Why is this being flashed as "Breaking News"? Oh, that's right, Obama's healthcare reform law is circling the drain and CNN wants to change the subject.

    March 28, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Stephan

    Let's predict conservatives response – the poll is flawed, it's pinko leaning by CNN, it's the media's fault.

    Forget the fact no one likes their candidates.

    March 28, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Shane

    I had actually contemplated voting for Romney until he started talking. The more he talks, the less likable he seems to be.

    While I'm not a huge fan of everything that President Obama has done, I do believe he will do much more for this country than any of the Republican candidates currently on the field.

    March 28, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Ron

    @Snoopz – Well go to FOX news

    March 28, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. REPUBLICAN ARE THE GREATEST

    Polls mean nothing today. Barack Obama will not be reelected. I am 100% sure of this. Romney is our next President in January 2013.

    March 28, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. Daniel

    Funny, on Bill Maher, he said Romney has double digit lead over Obama in the swing states, you know, the states that matter

    March 28, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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