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. L.C.

    Ron Paul 2012! Long live Liberty!

    March 28, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. betterdays

    Because things have improved so dramatically over the past three years, right? The only thing keeping us from becoming a second-world nation is the fact that we spend twice as much as we've got, and keep saying we'll worry about it later. And judging from the ability of the average person I meet to look at the big picture, I'd say we're doomed. Might as well re-elect him; the country is a lost cause. I will die before the entire nation looks like Detroit, but a lot of you won't. Hope you enjoy it.

    March 28, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Bobloblaw

    So in order to get these results CNN had to do a weekend poll of 1000 adults. Adults v likely voters is good for 2-3 points in obamas favor. Weekend poll about another 1-2 points. I'll like to see the partisan breakdown as well. But at this point obamas 54% against Romney is more like 49-50%. CNN had the 2008 election for Obama by 12. So I'd say it's Obama right now by 4-5

    March 28, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Moderate Sean

    Chachabrown, saying it doesn't make it true.....provide statistical evidence to support your claim regarding that "there are more conservatives in the entire country." If that was the case, or based on your logic, then wouldn't we of had back-to-back Republican presidents with a completely conservative ilk?? Some how, reality hasn't proven your theory correct....

    March 28, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. buckybadger

    Anyone would lead that group of clowns.

    March 28, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Ted Ward

    Since WHEN is a hypothetical matchup poll done by a news organization (term used advisedly) "breaking news"? The only thing breaking here is CNN's standards and credibility.

    March 28, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Nice try, Rickster, but do you really think this clown car of mental midgets that FOX has been pushing really has the capacity to lead this country? All of them are failures before they declared their candidacies. Only the righties think Obama has been a failure.

    March 28, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Robb

    You cannot win an election without the vote of the Independents and Romney continues to lose their support because he can't stand for a single thing consistently. The election is already over, folks, unless Romney can woo Independents, women and Hispanics.

    March 28, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Polls are nice...aren't they?
    Useless but nice.
    The only poll tht counts is YOUR vote in November.
    Support your current President.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    March 28, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So CNN's poll would have us believe that as gas prices have risen dramatically since the beginning of the year and Obama has nixed the pipeline, his popularity has increased? Sorry CNN, you're poll is no where near the other polls and is bogus. It's called an out-liar. (hhahaha)

    March 28, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Jack

    You bitterness is gratifying, repugnants...I mean republicans.

    March 28, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. midranger

    Has anyone ever actually been part of any of these polls? I have never been polled, or know anyone who has.
    Who are these 40-60%. Are they the same people we see in picture frames in the stores?

    March 28, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. chachabrown

    It is true. Look it up. Conservatives are the largest majority. Only around 28-32% of the population claim themselves as liberial. Conservatives are around 42-46%. Look it up.. It's called the internet. Wonderful thing it is.

    March 28, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Preacherguy

    So...let's see...I can vote for an investment banker of the type who caused the biggest recession since the 1920s...or I can vote for another guy who keeps talking about reducing the government's interference in people's lives while he promotes programs to curtail birth control, free speech, collective bargaining, and education...or, I can vote for a guy who maybe isn't perfect, but did get us out of Iraq, seems to have the economy headed in the right direction, has an "all of the above" approach to ending our dependence on foreign energy, and of the three is the one who is actually likeable....hmm...think I'll vote for the one who actually seems to make a little sense – Obama 2012.

    March 28, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Love these comment sections under polls. They seriously need to be used for a study in confirmation bias.

    March 28, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Rasmussen polls have no hidden agenda? Riiiight, and Rush Limbaugh is anorexic.

    March 28, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. betterdays

    It's hard to believe, but there actually was a time when people cast votes based on what they thought was best for the United States, not what they thought would benefit them the most personally in the short term. I know that sounds crazy. Best I've been able to figure, it pretty much stopped happening sometime between 1960 and 1964.

    March 28, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. chachabrown

    Moderat sean. You forget about the clueless moderates that just want evrything cool and the kang. They float from one moron to another no matter what the R or D says.

    March 28, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. znhcats

    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?
    ------------------------------------–
    DId Obama implement all the welfare systems 3 years ago? Do you really read news at all? He has been cutting so many welfare programs espcially food stamps, but you guys just jumping up & down and yelling he's a socialist, or spending millions in vacations. What a laughable counter arguments! For those oppose this President, are the one in medicare and medicaid. Read more, folks!

    March 28, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh, of course, chachabrown, the internet never lies, right? It has a magic filter on it to keep propaganda off it, and only the truth will be allowed on there.

    March 28, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. macbil

    When the fall campaign rolls around and the Obama re-election starts their "swift boating" of Romney on all the sleazy Wall Street/Bain Capital deals he did and Romney keeps up his weekly foot-in-mouth rich guy comments, I think most Americans will agree, even grudgingly so, that it would be better to vote for Obama.

    March 28, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. jrk1971

    America is Back!!!! And thanks to President Obama for saving us. We have survived the perfect storm. Unemployment is going lower, jobs are back, interest rates are low, stocks are up. Let's go people, let's make America even stronger based on coming out the mess we were in.

    March 28, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. wecwec

    In related news – a poll of welfare leaches and foodstampers shows that 99% of them want more handouts and freebies!

    March 28, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Tired of republican lies

    As it should be...These other candidates have nothing to offer except going back to when lil Bush put us in a ditch...take away womens' rights etc...

    March 28, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When Mittens loses to our president in November, will he immediately begin his run for president in 2016?

    March 28, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8