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. kaytlen7

    I say we just don't vote for any of em and just do it ourselves.....

    March 28, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Belle

    If you give this empty suit another term you need to have your head examined.

    March 28, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Lee

    The real polls that matter are the state by state polls. I'd like to see surveys in all the states, or at least the swing states. This will be a better predictor of who wins in November. 1000 people nationwide is 20 people per state. Hardly meaningful when the election is determined by the Electoral College, not the popular vote.

    March 28, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Preacherguy – Amen to that!

    March 28, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. James

    if 'the president's approval rating has inched over the 50% mark in CNN surveys' then it would be around 20% in a non-CNN survey!

    March 28, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. jt_flyer

    This is what I found:

    Conservatives have maintained their leading position among U.S. ideological groups in the first half of 2010. Gallup finds 42% of Americans describing themselves as either very conservative or conservative. This is up slightly from the 40% seen for all of 2009 and contrasts with the 20% calling themselves liberal or very liberal.
    source gallup politics.

    March 28, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Polls useless till end of summer

    Why do we keep doing these endless stories? Do people not understand that cross-voting skews these polls? If you are a GOP voter and badly want Santorum to win, and are given the choice between Romney and Obama, many will pick Obama to make Romney look bad! These polls are useless until we have a firm candidate and people are actually interested in the race.

    March 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Texas GOP

    looks like we tea baggers loose again. you all should had support palin or backmann. rommney is a communest. sanitormin is a loser so we have newts. paul is nut. look in mirrow an blames yourselve. tea party proude.

    March 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. wecwec

    You know they called for the poll during the day...when all the Republicans are at work. Lets see who is left to respond...oh yeah – welfare leaches and foodstampers. Surprised it wasn't 90% for obama. Fix the problem = get welfare/foodstamps during an election cycle you lose the right to vote during that cycle.

    March 28, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Bon

    I can't believe anyone follows along with this crap. The election process is so rigged it's not even funny.
    American's are against Obama, the GOP candidates anyone and everyone but somehow we keep hearing Obama is leading. Bunch a bologna. Think its funny how BO gets caught saying he can be more flexible after the election as if he knows he will already be chosen. Wake up people.....its pre-determined.
    I guess it give people something to do.

    March 28, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. kjeroh

    A lot of comments vilifying the poll results because it doesn't give Republicans an astounding lead. The poll is valid and if it weren't for ridiculous dismissal because it was done by CNN (then why bother viewing CNN.com) it must be biased. However, if even a cursory glance was given it would be seen that the results are being driven by matters that have concerned Republican pundits: the long GOP primary has been brutally nasty and filled with nothing but negatives. Each candidate (with the exception of Ron Paul) has made a decision to appeal strictly to the tiny, ultra conservative wing of the party, which, obviously, turns off the more moderate general voting population. The nastiness of the primary has also turned off many Republicans, which explains the drop off in enthusiasm. After the convention, that number will change dramatically.

    March 28, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. EsquireXII

    Within the past week, we have had two polls that have the president leading in the state of Virginia. Quinnipac has the president up by 8 percent and Rasmussen has the president up by 9 point.

    March 28, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. K1k2lee

    In other words, the more these guys talk, the better people get to know these candidates, the higher Obama's ratings go. Keep talking guys!

    March 28, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. RomneyLeads

    Steinhauser lies.

    More CNN pump and dump.

    March 28, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Bamster

    You people at CNN polling must be high. In 3 1/2 years, the Bamster has doubled the price of gas, caused the loss of 3 million jobs, added 4 trillion to the debt, and now ObamaCare is heading for the drain. If Barry gets 20% of the vote in November, it will be a miracle.

    March 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. MaryM

    lol, suck it up Repubs, you lost already

    March 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Debby

    Midranger I and no one I know has ever been polled either.

    March 28, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Bobloblaw

    I actually wouldn't mind if the nitwit Obama wins reelection especially if obamacare is struck down by the SCOTUS.
    GOP will have at least 210-230 House members and will pick up no less than 2 Senate seats.
    Given the massive tax increases, 2013 is virtually guaranteed to be a recession year. 2014 will see the GOP win 25-35 House seats and another 6-10 Senate seats. The moderate GOP establishment can take the blame for Romney's loss. In 2016 the GOP with huge congressional majorities can nominate a true conservative like Marco Rubio, Scott Walker (he's going to win his recall easily) or Bob McDonnell.

    March 28, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Tom

    The RCP average of all polls is +5.4 for Obama... the CNN/OR poll is still an outlier to the population.

    March 28, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Michael Johnson

    "Conservatives are the largest majority. Only around 28-32% of the population claim themselves as liberial. Conservatives are around 42-46%." It's a figure that about 50% of Americans have a below average IQ. Look at conservatives. They are ignorant people living in a self created Dark Age. Wasn't it ignorant to believe that Obama was born in Kenya and that he followed Islam? Wasn't it only ignorant people who believed Obama would take their guns. You must be terminally ignorant to believe stopping 396000 entries from Mexico "is doing nothing. Yes, conservatives are ignorant. They show their ignorance daily.

    March 28, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Don't believe the hipe

    March 28, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "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?"

    And you'd have us believe there's a verifiable causal relationship between the pipeline project and rising gas prices? TINFOIL HAT.

    BTW, the GOP purposefully forced the pipeline to be rejected. They were warned that it required more time for study in order to fulfill the duty to the public not to simply approve everything willy-nilly beacuse it's politically expedient. All they wanted was more time. Instead, the GOP thought they'd gain traction by forcing it to be rejected by using legislation to shorten the normal timeline for the approval process and interfere with executive branch duties and obligations at the agency level. They got their wish: a rejected pipeline (that can actually be resubmitted) and a misinformation campaign demagoguery talking point. Their wish was NEVER to actually get a pipeline.

    March 28, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. jason

    why must all of our elections be about the lesser of two evils?

    March 28, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. DaTruff

    Maybe in a three person race. How is the question worded? I would never trust a CNN poll.

    March 28, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. george of the jungle

    And the repos continue to be nasty and disorganized. They still don't get it. Vote Obama/Biden in November. Move forward not back to the 50's. Tired of the scare tactics used by the repos. Now they are after out health care. Even thought they are not suppose to be partial look at all the conservitive judges. Repos don't care how they screw us.

    March 28, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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