Poll: Voters like Obama better than Romney, but split on handling of economy
April 10th, 2012
08:32 AM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Voters like Obama better than Romney, but split on handling of economy

(CNN) – The latest poll pitting President Barack Obama against his likely GOP opponent Mitt Romney shows the president topping his rival in a head-to-head matchup, though voters remain split on which presidential contender is best equipped to handle the economy.

The survey, from Washington Post/ABC News, showed Americans divided on which candidate would best handle economic issues – 47% said Romney would do a better job handling the economy generally, compared to 43% who named Obama. But when asked which man would be better at creating jobs, 46% named Obama and 43% said Romney. Both margins were within the poll's 3.5% sampling error.

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Voters were less divided on other key issues – 53% said Obama was best poised to handle international affairs, compared to 36% who said Romney. Conversely, when asked which man would do a better job of reducing the federal deficit, 51% said Romney and 38% said Obama.

In terms of likeability, Obama held a clear advantage. Sixty four percent of Americans polled said the president was a more friendly and likeable person, a nearly 2-to-1 advantage over Romney, who was at 26%.

Obama's overall approval rating stood at 50%, but dipped when respondents were polled about specific issues. Forty four percent said they approved of the way the president was handling the economy, and only 28% approved of how Obama was handling high gas prices. His rating on handling of international affairs was higher, at 47%.

When asked which candidate they would choose if the election were held today, 51% of Americans said they would pick Obama and 44% went with Romney.

The serious gender gap between the two candidates – also seen in recent Gallup and CNN/ORC polls – continues to persist. Obama had the support of 57% of women, compared to 38% who said they backed Romney. The former Massachusetts governor had the backing from 52% of men, compared to 44% who back Obama.

Among another important voting block, independents, the poll shows a much tighter race. Forty eight percent of independents backed Romney, compared to 46% who said they supported Obama. That was within the survey's sampling error.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted by phone April 5-8, and surveyed 1,103 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Poll: Nearly three-quarters of Republicans see Romney as nominee

Romney: I speak with Gingrich more than Santorum

Romney campaign pulls negative ad while Santorum halts campaigning


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (404 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    Once the people know Romney's plans for the economy (and finds out that he embraced the Ryan plan), Romney will be losing on that one too. Romney claims he knows how to improve the economy, but there is no proof that he does know how. I live in Massachusetts and while he was governor, he let the state rot! Didn't fix any roads, bridges, etc. and was 47 out of 50 in job creation. Now we have Patrick as governor and are back at the top for job creation and we are fixing up the state too. Romney know nothing about the economy. He only knows how to make money for himself and his rich buddies.

    April 10, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  2. SUBS 4 VOTES

    The President is actually one of the people whereas Willard is an out of touch elitist. Nothing has proven to me that Willard can handle the economy better than the President. This the governor who was ranked 47th in the nation. I'm not impressed.

    April 10, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. American

    Strong foreign policy.
    An improving economy.
    Upholding women's rights.
    Closing loopholes to bring jobs back to America.

    President Obama 2012

    April 10, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. sara

    I'll never vote for a Financial Predator who builds Elevators for his cars....store his American-Made wealth in the Caymen Islands and in SWISS bank accounts. He doesn't even believe in his country. Hide out in France during the Viet Nam war and passed that thinking on to his 5 cutie-pie sons who seems to believe that wearing the uniform of a U.S. soldier is for the "little" people.

    April 10, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. rs

    Given that Mr. Romney has no aspirations for an economy that operates any differently from GW Bush's "cut taxes and spend-with huge deficits and debt, the choice is really pretty stark. Add in the GOPs strong desire to shred the social safety net for the poor and elderly, and the choice becomes a no-brainer. Voting for Mr. Romney is voting against your best interests, now and for the future.

    April 10, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  6. king

    If Romney wins, he would drill baby drill, and forget about clean energy, which would push more artificial carbon into the atmosphere, and slowly kill the earth. He would also carry on the bush trickle down policies, of taking the weapons from the private "spending money", and giving it to the rich, "the generals", and asking the generals to fight the war while the privates commands. Lesson middle class and the working poor are the ones that pushes economy success, but they need spending money to do so. When money goes up to the rich, it is stock there. Look at the 3 trillions of dollars on these folks books, which are not apart of the economy, while the economy suffers. Folks will not invest, when they don't see spenders to buy their product. All the crap the repubs push about the president policies are not true. I remember when bush first push the money to bail out big businesses, how the economy fell, because businesses said, hey I am glad for the money, but we cannot do nothing, because there still are no spenders out there to buy our product, it was when Obama came out with the stimulous, which he pushed to the spenders, that the economy, stop its 9 percent retraction, to a 4 percent growth in a short amount of time. The spenders are the warriors in this economy, no the rich.

    April 10, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I don't get it. Why do some people hold this view that Mitt Romney is some sort of economic, job creating savant. He's not. Mitt Romney sells capital to people who create jobs. That does not make Mitt Romney a "job creator". It makes him a salesman who sells capital. Mitt Romney has as much of a legitimate claim to being a job creator as the CEO of a major Wall Street bank.

    April 10, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Romney and Obama on economy? Mitt Romney's pinkie has more good business sense than the entire brain of Obama!

    April 10, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  9. Just a thought

    Frankly, a person should question their judgement if backing RMoney. Think about it; the guy hasn't held a position of any kind through the next sentence he speaks. I understand that President Obama isn't perfect and he makes mistakes, but at least he's a man of conviction and honor. RMoney is a used car salesman for the gullible. If you are one of the people that would back this phoney, please stay home on election day because this country can't afford your ignorance. Please??????

    April 10, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  10. Sorensen

    What is it that makes some naive and uninformed people believe, that Romney knows anything about how to handle
    the US economy? He has no flaming idea. He is a management consultant who has learnt how to buy and sell
    distressed assets in mediocre companies. That has nothing to do with macroeconomics. Nothing!
    What he does know is the classic and sick GOP economic dogma. Well done GOP. You deserve him!

    April 10, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  11. ForAmerica2012

    Likeability? I like a president who knows business – I mean serious knowledge about business to bring America's economy back on track. I like a president who is proud of us Americans, not apologizing to those that kills our soldiers. I like a president who will not sell us to the Russians. No more Obama, Mitt Romney 2012!

    April 10, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  12. Qi

    It seems clear to me that the priciples of greed and selfishness are firmly in control of this nation and I fear for the future...

    April 10, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  13. lovethe usaorleave

    LOL I find it amazing these polls are even published. But the media & especially CNN will do what ever it takes to keep the World under Obama's thumb. There are 4 other polls out right now that show completely different results, but of course those wont be mentioned here and are all found to be generally more accurate than the one they reported.

    April 10, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    The President always takes the heat for the economy, no matter who or what caused it. On paper, Obama shouldn't have a chance this November with unemployment this high. He only has two things going for him; the economy, although bad, has been slowly but steadily improving, and the GOP is working as hard as it possibly can to blow this one. The Ryan budget, to which Mitt has pledged allegiance, is just the W plan on steroids. They've alienated women with their contraception positions. They've alienated Hispanics with their immigration policies. They have turned off just about everyone but their most loyal base, and in doing so are presenting the election to Obama on a silver platter.

    April 10, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. sylvia

    I don't know of any person who is better off today than 3 years ago, nor has prospects of being better off. This President is a disaster and the American public must be idiots to re-elect him.

    April 10, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    People who think Romney will handle the economy better are sadly mistaken. Mittens handling the Olympic games was a government bailout to the tune of over $1 billion. He created 51,000 jobs in MA in 4 years, while our president has had over 4 million jobs created in over 3 years. Mittens broke up companies and took federal money for any losses, while making money on the profitable parts. Avoiding taxes by keeping money off shore, expecting seniors and poor to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy in the Ryan Romney plan, and eliminating ACA and Planned Parenthood are examples of why he should not be elected.

    April 10, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Likealion

    I like my dog more than I do Obama, but I don't think he would make a good president.

    April 10, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Dave

    I doubt this is accurate. Even if it is, it is a reflection of the liberal media bias. Obama gets praised in spite of debt, deficits and unemployment. Romney gets criticized for success in business, the olympics and as governor.

    April 10, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. Bob

    $500 million later, it will be a 51%-49% victory for Mr. Obama.

    April 10, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Big George in Big D

    What they don't bother to tell you is the people that were polled were democrats by and 11% margin! When the truth comes out, Nobama is NOT in the lead. Please, don't tell me there are that many stupid people in the US that would re-elect that failure of a POTUS!

    April 10, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. nolimits3333

    George W. Bush inherited a strong economy, a budget surplus, and a nation at peace.

    Eight years later, he left Obama with a shattered economy, a trillion dollar deficit, and two useless wars.

    Obama saved the country from another Great Depression, rebuilt GM, reformed healthcare, reformed Wall Street, doubled the stock market, created 8 straight quarters of GDP growth, created 22 straight months of private sector job growth, got Bin Laden, got Gaddafi, and got us out of Iraq.

    And now with the automatic spending cuts and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2012, Obama has solved the deficit problem as well.

    Obama has done a very good job.

    April 10, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. Doug

    Romney doesn't admire Mao and want to bring to America his brand of socialism that killed 30 million, Obama? Anita Dunn was a member of his administration because they are liked minded.

    April 10, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    President Obama is a proven Leader on the other hand Romney what has he done. Romney said he know how creat job. Now the question is what type of jobs or where would they be how many people will be hired. Everybody say we need more jobs this is true. Gas price are to high, Presdent Obama has nothing to do gas being to high. Maybe President should speak out against gas company jacking up prices.The oil compamy paid this oil or gas six month or seven month ago at a lower price, all they are doing is making money. President Obama is right repeal or remove oil subities

    April 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Bill the Cat

    What? Is $4 per gallon for gas not enough for you clowns?

    April 10, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. Capitalism

    Only the lamestream media could spin this as a positive for Obama. LOL

    April 10, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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