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. Laverne

    The rethugs continue to underestimate the president and his abilities. It is going to be hilarious to see Romney floundering like a fish this fall as Mr. Obama pouce on him like white on rice, I can just see the dumb founded look on his face now. Because no matter how rich and savvy Romney thinks he is, he just does not have the real facts like Obama does about the real issues because, umm he has been president for the past 3 years. Romney is speaking and pandering from a candidate standpoint right now and once he realizes he is not as good as he thinks he is you will begin to see him come apart at the seams, it is going to be gutt busting!

    April 10, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. curious

    To think again: California's decline came at the hands of rich republicans who pushed off election year propositions such as prop 13 and Ronald Reagan's opening the border for cheap labor. They pushed pro business initiatives that raised the cost of living in the state at a time when wages were lowered because of Reagan's Mexican immigrants.

    April 10, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Over and over again we get the same thing from the Repugs.....Complain,,,,complain,,,,complain.....They haven't given the nation ONE solid thing to work with..,,,..they can't come up with a decent candidate for president but BOY CAN THEY B_CH!!!! We, women Democrats, just want you to know one thing... we are finished letting the repubs try to remake our lives, take away rights that we fought years for and to also remind them that women vote too! Start counting boys, because when we women start fighting back and voting you out.., you will be running for the hills!!!Repubs..your days are numbered!!!!!!!!

    April 10, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. DAK

    If you are in favor of lying, political double-speak, pandering to the crowd and being dishonest in word and deed, then Mitt Romney is your guy. If you believe in rewarding bad behavior and putting private interests before the good of the country, then the GOP today is your party.

    April 10, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    What a bizarre primary this has been. Got to give it to the GOPers ... they certainly "do" circus beyond all imagination.

    Obama/Biden

    April 10, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Rudy Says:

    "The numbers do not lie, but you do. You've completely forgotten about the AMT, which throws most all of those figures and deductions straight out of the window. A family of four making $60k would pay at least 30%."
    -------–
    Rudy, you're full of what the bird died of, and it ain't bird seed.

    The AMT, or Alternative Minimum Tax, plays NO PART WHATSOEVER in a scenario where a family of 4 is making a combined income of $60K. If your tax accountant told you that, or whomever prepares your taxes told you that, I suggest you seek legal recompense. In fact, I'll prepare yours for nothing, just out of pity.

    April 10, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Valentina

    There is no doubt in my mind that Romney will overcome the obstacles and will prevail in November of 2012! Romney will become our next President for the betterment of our country as a whole!

    April 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Mark from Louisiana

    What good is a poll that only has 23% republicans in the mix? Typical liberal press crap, and the sheep follow along without complaint.

    April 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. DDanny1

    It will be interesting when Romney is head to head with Romney. The big elephant in the room is the way Bain Capital made their biggest scores. Basically they found a company ride for a leveraged buyout. They chose appraisers that would low ball the estimates of the companies worth. They would get the company at a bargain, outsource many of the jobs and sell off the best assets. Then they would get THE SAME APPRAISERS to come in and make estimates many times higher for the assets (even though the valuable ones were now gone). They would get a Wall Street firm to push their stock and after it topped out, they would pay themselves fees more than what the company was purchased for and then pretty much walk away. It's kind of like buying a car for $20,000, borrowing $40,000 against the value of the car and walking away and leaving the CAR on the hook for the payments.
    It's going to be good.

    April 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Mojo Jack

    docame

    "How does manipulating the economy so that people that have Mitt's kind of money win.."
    Win the argument, not the election. Romney is a 1-trick pony.

    April 10, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Todd in DC

    So Obama is ahead in the polls right now. So what? The election is nearly 7 months away. I do look forward to Romney/Obama debates.

    The economy is a lot better than when Bush was the president, and Obama gets credit for killing Bin Laden and ending the Iraqi war. He saved the auto industry while saving 1000's of jobs there.

    He ended DADT

    And what do the GOPers want? More laws governing women's uteri.

    April 10, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Taylor

    Valentina

    There is no doubt in my mind that Romney will overcome the obstacles and will prevail in November of 2012! Romney will become our next President for the betterment of our country as a whole!

    For the betterment for who ? Not country for the wealthy. If Romney become President there will be WARS and we will become a third world country......

    April 10, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "@Fair is Fair, Four and the Door, and Truth and nothing but (I know you are in here somewhere), spot on as usual, but I don't know why you keep trying with some of these people that refuse to believe the facts, instead picking and choosing their own very narrow version of the facts. Some of what they say is actually true, but they neglect the whole story or the "big picture."

    And here, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic sign of the diseased radical rightwing mind at work. Accuse others of what you yourself are doing, also known as "projection."

    April 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. American Business Owner

    I'll be voting for Obama because he cares about people and America. The GOP believe that the bottom line is the end all be all and that shipping jobs overseas is somehow supposed to be good for America. Business regulation has increased under both the Republican Party and Democratic Party, so don't buy the notion that the GOP is business friendly. I'm doing fine in this economy, so my vote will be for the needy American people.

    April 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. MaryM

    Val, you are going to be soooooo sad in NOV 2012. Just to prepare yourself, read about the great job Romney did as Gov of Mass. 2003-2007

    April 10, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ Four and the Door

    Romney/Ryan 2012...MAN I hope you're right as an Obama supporter I would LOVE to see that ticket. Only Romney/Gingrich would be more fun. Mitt has already lost the women vote, Latino vote, Black vote, GLBT vote, not doing to well with the working class and now add Ryan and there goes the senior vote. GOOD JOB GOP

    April 10, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "Numbers don't lie. Facts are facts. This seems to be continuing theme of the followers of the Great Pretender, Obama. They do not even acknowledge factual data."

    Lotta lies there, buddy. Lets see if you can "acknowledge factual data": The majority of our current deficit is due to Republican presidents, True or False?

    April 10, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "We don't want to go back to the same mistakes of 2009 and 2010. "

    Right, you want to go back to the same mistakes of 2001 through 2008.

    April 10, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Taran

    @Rudy, there ya go "coloring the facts" again. Not one fact that I posted was ever disproved or "bogus" as you put it, and I never blamed Obama for gas prices anywhere. I simply stated that a gas station in florida and in alaska were charging $6+ a gallon, which they were. Nice try. You are the one with no credibility, why do you think I don't bother responding to you any more??

    April 10, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. ObamaCare versus Romney Care

    Another depressed conservative . . .

    April 10, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Valentina

    @ MaryM – I live in Massachusetts and very well aware of Romney's record in our state, thank you. I am proud to say that my entire family and I voted for him in MA and we will be voting for him again in the fall.

    April 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Willie K.

    Question for CNN: Since when is 64 percent "nearly" twice as much as 26 percent? Where I went to school, it is nearly 2.5 times as much.

    April 10, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote on page 9:

    Rudy, you're full of what the bird died of, and it ain't bird seed.

    The AMT, or Alternative Minimum Tax, plays NO PART WHATSOEVER in a scenario where a family of 4 is making a combined income of $60K.
    -------------------
    The AMT kicks in where 1040EZ kicks out, over $50k/year. Number of child deductions is irrelevant. It is an alternate calculation with its' own deductions. You have to pay the higher of the two calculations.

    Anyone making $60k/year would have to run the AMT calculation and pay the higher figure. Period. That's why it is called "Alternative Minimum" tax. The AMT hits the middle class especially hard, except if you spend enough on capital investments to take you below the AMT trigger. Why do you think Mitt Romney gave away a quarter million in earned income speaking fees? It kept him below the AMT trigger on earned income.

    April 10, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. RIk

    Good job CNN

    "But when asked which man would be better at creating jobs, 46% named Obama and 43% said Romney"
    - CNN: Voters like Obama better than Romney

    " would best handle economic issues – 47% said Romney would do a better job handling the economy generally, compared to 43% who named Obama."
    -CNN: but split on handling of economy

    April 10, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Taran

    @Rudy, there ya go "coloring the facts" again. Not one fact that I posted was ever disproved or "bogus" as you put it, and I never blamed Obama for gas prices anywhere. I simply stated that a gas station in florida and in alaska were charging $6+ a gallon, which they were. Nice try. You are the one with no credibility, why do you think I don't bother responding to you any more??
    ------------------–
    You blamed President Obama because of a gas station adjacent to the airport was charging so high. If that was not the case, then please tell us why did you bring it up in the first place. Hmm?

    April 10, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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