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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Vumba

    Back to the hypothetical stories! CNN your disgusting, but most of the media is.

    March 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Just Me

    LOL. Like those clowns have a chance. Stay tuned. The closer it gets to November, the larger the lead will be. Most of us Americans are wide awake and paying attention. We simply cannot wait to get to the polls and let the naysayers know how much we are awake. And we are not drinking coffee either.

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

    "Someone needs to explain to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada how profits from American companies are where government revenues come from. So a big source of all of this money he loves throwing around is actually generated from taxing the profits of American companies. If Washington has not become such a strange place in the last 3 years, you would expect the Senate Majority Leader to wish for American companies to make money hand-over-fist!"

    You make it so easy. CBO estimates that the effective marginal corporate-level tax rate on petroleum and natural gas structures is...get this....NEGATIVE 2.2 PERCENT. Let me repeat that:

    NEGATIVE. 2.2. PERCENT.

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

    The Democrats and Republicans are screwing you over the same way, the Republicans being a little more discreet. If you think that the difference is clear cut good and bad, your're and idiot. Neither party seems to seriously care about the welfare of the nation anymore. The sooner people realize that, the better of we'll be. So stop labeling people as Democrat or Republican. If you seriously declare allegiance to either party and blindly support them, you are an idiot.

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Rickster

    lol...nice try CNN. Everybody knows that Obama is a laughable buffoon and has been a complete failure at everything he touches. The main stream media has lost every shred of credibility in covering for BO's multiple failures so this poll is no surprise.

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Vumba

    Back to the hypothetical stories!

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. Ricky L

    Waaaaaa....I don't like this.

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Dripping with Sarcasm

    CNN - Will you be covering the hypothetical inaugration of this poll?

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. chrissy

    ahhh yes let the republicans cry – I hope more and more people open up thier eyes and see what trouble we would be in if Romney got in office. Heck he would have to re-do the whole white house to his upper class of living lifestyle!! Heck anyone see what he is doing to his beach house.......not big enough or full of enough spoiled little rich man perks...actually needs an elevator in his garage in order to house his wife and his cars LOL yes we want him in office OBAMA 2012!

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. nc1965

    Let the Republican backlash begin. Lets see the number if Obamacare is struck down.

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Frank

    There are few polls in the country I really trust. The ones run off the cuff by the mainstream media are most assuredly NOT among those. Rasmussen and Gallop are 2 polls I trust, because they are truly unbiased and run scientific polls with no hidden agenda.

    March 28, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. funny

    How is this story buried at CNN? Just like the GOP... out of touch CNN.

    March 28, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin leads over Obama by a huge landslide margin. She is going to win the nomination over Mittens and Sanctorum and she will be our next and greatest President.

    March 28, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. wecwec

    Its ok...when Obama wins all us conservatives should just stop working – stop paying int the welfare system and start taking out of it. How long would the socialist dream last if all the producers stop producing?

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

    @Lauren And I am sure FOX polls has the two waste of air party members up wouldn't you say so? Hmmm I bet they would. How about using some common sense. Some people are just plain stupid.

    March 28, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Blindersoff

    Booyi . . . in your face!

    March 28, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. chachabrown

    You got to laugh. The poll had 457 registred democrats and 411 registered republicans. Their results would make sense. Too bad there are more conservatives in the entire country. Good cover by CNN after a pretty awful week for Obama.

    March 28, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Is it possible that the republican war on women, seniors, veterans, workers, minorities, poor people, the middle class, college students, our environment, and government in general, is starting to wake people up?

    March 28, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Steve

    More CNN polling BS. Polls are not news, and CNN polls are not acurate. Respected polling agencies/companies show a dead heat. CNN, ABC, CBS consistently poll more Dems than are in the actual voting population, skewing the results to the left. They are only deluding themselves. None of them predicted the shellaking in 2010, why would anyone give them credence this time around?

    March 28, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. kaytlen7

    Nah Storm...I was referring to the company performing the survey.... they are a non USA corp... but who knows...maybe "nationwide" meant from their countries! Thanks for pointing that out that possible thought!

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

    Lots of complaints about the pole... and boy am I shocked to hear the GOP whine. Who could have predicted that??

    March 28, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. AL in West Palm Beach

    CNN YOU LIE!!!!

    Rasmussen has WILL-ard ROBMEY-of my money for his swiss account ahead 99% to 1% after polling the 10 employees at FAUX LIES...

    March 28, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. nosloblonde

    I love how the first sentence tells us that this is a "hypothetical" matchup HAHAHA. What a joke. I just made up my own "hypothetical" match up and it says after Obamacare gets axed by the Supreme Court, 100% of those polled say Obama is a F A I L!

    March 28, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. hwt123

    Congrats on CNN losing half of it's viewers in the first quarter....That will Teach you to lie for your viewers.....
    Ron Paul 2012

    March 28, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Anders Perillo

    The administration gets clubbed like a baby seal at the Supreme Court for three days and *BAM!* CNN drops this farcical poll. Bwahahahaha! You guys take the cake.

    March 28, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8