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. The Real Tom Paine

    What exactly is Romney's "plan"? Is trusting the leadership of this country to what Hunstman described as a " well-oiled weather vane" going to produce results that will be beneficial to the majority of people? He's had over 6 years to produce a concrete plan and a set of principles. 2 years ago Romney, McCain and others were supporters of Cap and Trade, a concept the GOP championed until the loonies scared them away from their own intellectual property, along with the Individual Mandate. All concepts the moderates championed ( not to mention the inittial opposition to Supply-side came from G.H.W. Bush, an economics grad from Yale-oops, that means he's elitist). The sad truth is that the GOP is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog: "grassroots" groups beyond their control bullying the party and candidates into accepting their positions, or facing banishment ( ask David Frum how that felt). Romney is their perfect candidate: no principles, no plan, no ideas, but a well-trained parrot for the Objectivist Plutocracy that feels greed is the greatest virtue. There is not a single proposal, other than latching onto Ryan's budget plans like an ambulance-chasing lawyer, that Romney feels comfortable offering. He runs from healthcare, he runs from specifics on job creation, he runs from everything except his gaffes, which he adds to every moment.

    April 10, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Hussein Obama

    The moderator eats yellow snow, like most everyone at CNN.

    April 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Why would you trust a man who broke up companies and sold them piece by piece to fix the economy???!!!

    ...and we're not even getting into the part of "What the HELL does Mitt Romney stand for, does anyone know?"...

    April 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Obama Cares

    The President has my vote of confidence in 2012. Go Mr. Obama.

    April 10, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "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."

    Ha...I'll leave this defense to you, Rudy. It appears I may have conceded too early just to be nice about it.

    April 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. kacey

    Unless were happy with the 8 years of Bush, why would you trust Romney.
    1. Romney is being back by the entire BUSH FAMILY
    2. Romney is being back by DICK CHENEY

    April 10, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    @ Rudy –

    Look, Rudy... you could not possibly be more wrong. There is NO SCENARIO POSSIBLE for a family of 4 making a combined income of $60K be subject to the AMT. There is NO SCENARIO POSSIBLE. Go read the form / instructions. THERE IS NO SCENARIO POSSIBLE.

    April 10, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Alois

    Loser obama is a chronic liar.If you listen to deadbeat obama followers they will repeat everything that this corrupt administration says. They don't see that loser obama has been a failure at everything he does. He stole taxpayer money and squanderd it on bankrupt companys,he has increased the debt more than any other in history,the gas prices are highest in years under this loser.The only way to move this country ahead is to remove deadbeat obama and his super corrupt administration. There's nothing anybody can say or do to change the fact that loser obama is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American public.

    April 10, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. TheMan

    It is sad to see where this county is headed in the next few years if these more recent polls hold up in seven months. Obama has had nothing to show for his presidency in the past 3 years other than utter failure. It would be a different story if he had shown a glimmer of hope and betterment in this county over his term but it has only gotten worse. Home foreclosures at an all-time high, unemployment at an all-time high, gas prices at an all-time high, the numbers are right there yet every Liberal out there is blind to them. We need someone who can step in and change SOMETHING like Obama promised he would in 2008. However we all know what change he brought and it wasnt for the better.

    April 10, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. CitizenAJ

    Well, elections are not popularity contest, however, charismatic candidates can make them into popularity contest. When you look at the 47% for the President and 43% for Romney, that leaves 10% undecided or chose someone else. That is a big swing for whoever can capture most of that 10% vote on election day. Personally, I feel the republicans are approaching the economy the wrong way. I feel their plans will cause it to dip again and jobless rates to rise. Lowering corporte tax rates do not create jobs if their is no custormer to sell a product or service too. Creating things that are wanted or needed creates jobs and boost the economy. We need to focus more on that, besides, the President announced that he will cut the corporate tax rate, basically given republicans what they asked for, yet, it was not enough for them, they want more. How much more do you want on you already high pile? What do you say to someone who has no pile who is looking for opportunities (job) to start their pile?

    April 10, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. The Veteran

    Wise up people. This is just so Mitt can shake up his Etch a Sketch, and move to the center to try to get some of the women's vote back....

    April 10, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. FIELD1stSGT

    Wake up people – YEAH WAKE UP PEOPLE? This man calls Republicans racist. Read carefully what he has said. Then ask yourself, WHY NOT? How can we not be with kind of trash talk that has been going ever since they found out Obama might be a viable candidate. These people or very racist people and Obama should not be allowed another 4 years to destroy this country.

    April 10, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    MaryM - Mittens, Lets hear about the great job you did in Mass.??? NO, why not, arn't you proud of the jobs you created in Mass (not) or maybe education being one of the lowest rankings in the nation. awwwwwwww can't run on your record.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    I doubt you're interested in real facts if you're regurgitating this media matters BS. But you need to actually look up some facts on your own instead of believing liberal fabricators like Rudy and Sniffin. Mass unemployment while Romney was governor was below 5% (considered full employment) most of his term and the schools are far from the worse in the nation.

    As usual, another totally ignorant Obama supporter stumbling through life....

    April 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. kacey

    Romney SUPER PAC CAMPAIGN IS RUN BY CARL ROWE
    These are the same Men that took our country into a WAR on a LIE. But their families have done well. While many YOUNG Americian Men & Women have died, they will never have a furture NEVER SEE THEIR CHILDREN GROW UP AND NEVER see their families again.

    BUT IF THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT YOU WANT THESE SAME MEN BACK IN POWER.

    THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!

    April 10, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. GARYHALLENTERTAINMENT

    It's all the same B.S. from CNN and the other networks, I just watched John King try to justify a Romney win in November, this is unacceptable, the American people are damm lucky to have someone with the smarts to bring the economy back from the dead, It was the corruption and the greed of the Republicans during the bush presidency, that left the American economy on life support, for any american foolish enough to think that the same mentality that killed 800,000 jobs a month during the Illegal Bush presidency, is going to create economic success for the American middle class, is not only stupid, but also brainwashed by the republican warped political mindset, designed to coddle the Rich!!

    April 10, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Another Day in the Idiot Mines of the Obama Administration

    Another Day in the Idiot Mines President Obama and the media need to do a better job on presenting the facts to voters, based on some of those numbers. For instance, anyone who knows the true facts knows that President Obama's plan is s deficit REDUCTION plan and Rmoney's plan is a deficit INCREASE plan. So no one should favor Rmoney on deficit reduction. -------------------------------------------------–
    Are you joking??? FIVE TRILLION in debt in 4 years and trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see is what Obama is selling. Zero cuts, spend more and more and more. And then raise taxes to pay for SOME of it. Obama is the DOWNGRADE President because he refused to make the necessary cuts. The American people aren't stupid and know they could never run their personal finances this way. It's become clear Obama has never taken, or passed, a basic finance or economics course in his life. He isn't qualified to run a lemonade stand let alone the largest economy on the planet.

    April 10, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Saboth

    Well, we know Romney likes firing people and knows how to cut jobs and bankrupt companies. I'm sure his plan to gut taxes on the rich and corporations will result in lots of trickle down for the rest of us. It's not like they are making record breaking profits already yet refusing to give pay raises and hire people. Oh...they are?

    April 10, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. KCRick

    Just goes to show you character does not count much any more. Obama is a pathological liar, a manipulator and a negative person in general. One thing this goes to show, despite his character flaws America is truly not racist. Does the new media ever pick up on that?

    April 10, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. KCRick

    Don't trust the polls – they had Gore winning Virginia and North Carolina – states that Bush clearly won. Lot can happen between now and November including $5 gas.

    April 10, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. gg

    what built the usa was it was the manufacturing giant of the world,the middle class and the rich were doing ok.then the rich,decided they could get richer by shipping jobs to countries with cheap labour and no regulations.as the middle class grows in china and the middle class shrinks in the united states in time china will not need the usa

    April 10, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Taran

    The Democrats and the left recognize that if blacks cease viewing themselves as victims of racism, the Democratic Party can no longer offer itself as black America's savior. And if only one out of three black Americans ceases to regard to himself as a victim of racism, and votes accordingly, it will be very difficult for Democrats to win any national election.

    April 10, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Taran

    If you look reaaaaaaaaaaaal closely at the situation in the United States today, you will find that it closely parallels the situation that occured in the U.S. in the years of 1858 to 1860. Our society is divided as never before about what kind of government we shall have. Either we will go with the Progressive/Socialist view of the Government and State are all supreme and will tell us what rights we have; or we will stay with the view of the Founders that the individual is supreme and has God Given Rights that cannot be encroached on by government; that governments are servants of the People.

    What's it going to be?

    If the race baiters aren't careful, they are going to bring about Civil War Part Deux.

    April 10, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. SuperD

    You liberals ought to get off this board and go somewhere else that is not in the tank for the Democrats. You would be amazed at what those people are saying, and it aint all this crap going on here.

    I would like the Liberals to explain to me how Obama is going to get back millions of votes of all the people who had buyers remorse in voting for Obama. This just in, he aint getting those votes back.

    April 10, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    Ill stick to the goodlooking black dude that has proven his self, than a stiff, sweaty rich dude.

    April 10, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. glyder

    so if obama wins.we blame women for a marxist regime.not sure romney is any less big government.i blame you all for being party hacks anyway.

    April 10, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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