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. Jimulacrum

    I hear that Ron Paul is doing quite well in polls of this sort. It would certainly be newsworthy if he were outperforming Romeny and/or Santorum, wouldn't it?

    March 28, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Snoopz

    The conducted the poll in inner-city Los Angeles.

    March 28, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Chris

    Interesting that your poll ask the respondents to identify themselves as either Rep./Dem./Ind/None. Don't you think that would be an extremely important distinction? Because looking at the trends, there's too much variance over time... I question your margin of error.

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

    The key word here is "CNN" poll.

    March 28, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. kaytlen7

    Yep....another outsourcing Non-USA company ....

    March 28, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Debby

    Wow 1,041 people its a landslide CNN and this is breaking news! lol

    March 28, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. James

    This is not news. Anyone with half a brain already knew this. That Republican gang truly is the "Obama Re-Election. Committee". Too bad they are all stupid to see that.

    March 28, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    The funny thing is CNN only polls liberals – so only half of them are in favor of Obummer!

    March 28, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. winky

    Face it the Repugs... This election will be another Bob Dole moment!

    March 28, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Chris

    *correction* your poll doesn't ask respondents to identify party affiliation, if any.

    March 28, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    no matter what we're gonna get some bohemian grove / bilderberg puppet

    March 28, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Storm

    it says in the article they surveyed 1,041 people nationwide....so no, not an international poll. quit your whining you Neo-con ninnies!!

    March 28, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. patricia bines

    do not say all amercans I was not asked and no one I know was either so that is a lie but what else would you expect from cnn

    March 28, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. jbird68

    I trust the PPP poll, myself!

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

    @Snoopz Well it sure as heck was not conducted in redneck Tennessee

    March 28, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. nolimits3333

    Obama has done a good job. All the Republicans have done is try to sabotage the economy to win the election.

    March 28, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Who cares? Take then all away, along with all the other subsidies for businesses INCLUDING these bogus green companies. We can't afford ANY of them. And it'll put a stop to the libtards constant chirping about peanuts but I'm sure they'll find something else to whine about, or somebody elses money to take."

    Except, the reason for stopping the oil subsidies is that they don't need them. The intent of subsidies is to help industries weather hard times or get off the ground and running. Big Oil in no way, shape or form needs that if it is consistentlyl reporting record profits. And no, the subsidies do not really help keep gas prices lower, so get that tinfoil hat nonsense out of your head. The reasons for providing a subsidy to an industry are present with respect to green energy innovation...across the board...and if you don't recognize that or the need for developing alternative energy sources, then your echo chamber clearly has no windows.

    March 28, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. drew

    hows ron paul doing? you know, the only non corrupt politician that tells the truth and isn't bought and paid for by rich industrialists.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Nathan

    choke on it rightie.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Vumba

    Well, the Trayvon Martin story has run it's course. It's back to the hypothetical stories! CNN your disgusting, but most of the media is.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    CNN you have to be kidding-This is breaking news? No wonder your ratings are down. Please not all the people are KOOL AID drinkers-Why don't you have Bill Mahr announce this tonite during primetime?

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. Retired Army

    This is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO surprising.

    OK....not really.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Conner

    4 MO years.
    Repubs can now begin 5 more years of blaming everyone else for their problems

    WE WIN

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. AmericanSam

    The poll was conducted scientifically, and I assume with a 95% confidence interval. What you're looking at is, with at least 95% confidence, very accurate.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Storm

    Debby, actually most polls are done with a sampling size of about 1,000 to 1,500 for a nationwide survey.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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