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. Carl

    This coming at the same time that the Rasmussen poll has Obama up by 1%...not that these polls matter too much now. If gas continues to rise, home prices continue falling (regardless of whether either of these are really his fault), and ObamaCare gets overturned in the Supreme Court, Obama's going to have a hard time come November.

    March 28, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. marcia

    the Republicans are purposely trying to lose. It's so obvious with the clowns that are running! At least Newt the Sausage is lagging far far behind! Obama has it wrapped up for 2012!!!

    March 28, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Santos

    sbul, take a look at this sight and choose your favorite Democrat in the House and Senate. See who's in their pocket.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/index.php
    Then you can talk about lobbying

    March 28, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Muddy

    I pretty sure the Republicans are suffering from the actions of the Republican Congress Members and the Republicans on the Campaign trail far more than they are from Bush. The Republicans acted like mean, spoiled children and very openily said they would hurt the country to keep President Obama from re-election. Their favoritism for the Rich has gotten out of control, and their new war on Women is not winning friends. Compared to that, Bush II is a plus.

    March 28, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. jeb

    "So...the government is forcing me to pay welfare/foodstamps/housing/medicaid/etc/etc/etc for a person – and that person gets to vote themselves more benefits "

    You are talking about defense contractors, right?

    March 28, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Eric

    Come on GOP folks. You don't have anything to worry. Gas will be close to $5 by election day and then the whole country will be rooting for the new knight in shining armour to switch it back to $2.50 on the day he takes oath.

    Yes, all we need is a miracle!

    March 28, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Limerick

    It is not that Obama is so great....it is because the GOP candidated are so freaking bad! Come on GOP, there has to be on sensible candidate in the party..

    March 28, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. estibaliz

    That is a CNN slanted poll....doesn't mean a thing

    March 28, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. bill davis

    CNN much like FOX talks with it's mouth slanted.

    OB has ticked off the Mexicans, The Gas Buyer, and has wasted 2 years on Health Care, and takes a vacation every 2 weeks... Talk about a do noting guy....Let's get this election out of the way and we will give Russia a hand.

    March 28, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Coflyboy

    Good. It is nice to know that the Republican('t)s plan has totally backfired. Maybe there is hope for the United States after all. It is time the US becomes a modern, forward-thinking, progressive country.

    March 28, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Marg

    Whats really depressing is it's practically a lose/lose situation. If the president is re-elected we have to deal with the conservatives blocking all progress, and if the Republicans win..............well it's a lose.

    March 28, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. The Lord

    This is a surprise? I would take my kids to a circus, but that doesn't mean I want a clown running the country. Mr. Obama has nothing to worry about.

    March 28, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. midnite62

    I wish the election could be held TODAY. President Obama is the only choice, the GOP has put up regressive clowns as candidates and the likely GOP nominee has zero principles and convictions and can't be taken at his word.

    March 28, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. us1776

    Well, what are the Desperate Wingnuts going to do now ??

    They've all been taking potshots at the president and nothing has stuck.

    I think the best thing to do in Tampa is just hold a wake for the Grand Old Party.

    .

    March 28, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Drew

    You know something is wrong with your party when you can no longer attract independents; a previous poster noted that most GOPers would rather vote for "a mop" than Obama. This is fine, and you can go ahead and do that, but independents will NOT follow you and allow you to destroy the country

    March 28, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. DRod

    CNN continues to provide fact based reporting unlike Fox-Noise opinion based garbage that right wingers accept as fact.

    Rob – "Most Rep would rather vote for a mop than have Obama for another 4 years. "
    You did, he was called Bush.

    Howard – "The CNN poll AWAYS has Obama leading, regardless as to whether he is actually leading or not."
    Still in denial huh? The American people will not vote for more failed Bush-Rep experiments.

    March 28, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. z

    why doesn't cnn show pauls numbers. we deserve to see.

    March 28, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    President Obama is the best Republican president since Ike. This year's election won't change that.

    March 28, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Jon

    CNN polls make me laugh, why bother holding them, just annouce the outcome without pretending that a majority of CNN readers aren't liberals

    March 28, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Mark of Tennessee

    That is some good damn news... OBAMA 2012!!!

    The GOP reality show is working for the U.S. b/c it really shows they are nothing but idiot clowns.

    March 28, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. John

    The more people learn about Romney, the worse it is for the GOP!

    March 28, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Drew

    Maybe the GOP can come back to the real world now?

    March 28, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Jaggar

    It would be a shame to have 4 more years of this president. The republicans have to get their act together. Obama is a smooth talker but has done nothing for anyone. Many other countries leaders have voiced their opinion that the US is in trouble if they keep him as president. I voted for him but will not make that mistake again.

    March 28, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. the1stchastiser

    Of course President Obama is the best choice. By the way how is Romney's car elevator coming along at of his homes in California?Yeah, he certainly can relate to the average person, NOT!!!!!!

    March 28, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. John B.

    Polls don't mean anything unless a Republican is winning. DUH.

    March 28, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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