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. CaliforniaBC

    Well it's a choice between a rubber stamp president for the GOP and grover norquist OR the President who saved the economy from falling into a depression and creating 3.6 million jobs.

    April 10, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Gregory

    METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone April 5-8, 2012, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. (Several questions included an oversample of an additional 100 African-American respondents.) Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 points for the full sample. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

    April 10, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. TheMan

    Hey FLIndependent
    I find it truly amazing that so many years ago you were able to predict that NYC was going to be the target of a terrorist attack on our Nation. Because on that Day in Sept is when W decided something needed to be done and that is when all the iran, iraq, and war on terrorism talk started. Not because W just felt like it

    April 10, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. skarphace

    Shiffit: "We fear the change he explicitly states he wants to make."

    I used to feel the same way. Then I started listening to Paul in his own words instead of his words spun by the media. Every time I have an issue, (ex. the end of the war on drugs, the end of the department of education, the end of FEMA, etc), I go to Paul's website and hear his words on the issue in his forum.

    And almost every time I realize that Ron Paul knows much more about the subject than I do and his views are more valid than I thought mine were.

    All I am saying, is give Paul a chance. He grows on you, believe me.

    April 10, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Here we go...

    Obama 2012! Yea!

    April 10, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. skarphace

    Sniffit: sorry, the Shiffit was a typo, not a veiled insult.

    April 10, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. BeverlyNC

    No one serious about the recovery of our nation, the future success of our nation, the education of our children to compete in the global marketplace, the rights of workers, the rights of women, the rights of us as citizens to vote, or those wanting an intelligent, ethical, moral, values leader would vote for anyone but President Obama. He is real, genuine, and has a proven success record and represents ALL Americans.
    Romney is a liar, his PACS are liars, Karl Rove is the biggest slimeball ever and he is running intentional false and slanderous ads against our President. Republicans have NOTHING to run on so they are in the gutter attacking President Obama with pure lies, hate, racism, and with not one concern about the People, the economy or jobs.
    Goodbye GOP – the party with no solutions, no soul and no values is going down.
    Republicans will soon find they cannot buy the Presidency

    April 10, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Alex

    Nothing will change. They're all the same. No one does anything unless it somehow benefits them. We're screwed. Why even bother to vote?

    April 10, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. FLIndependent

    "I don't like Obama because he lies too much. Too many things he has said have turned out to be lies"
    ________________________________
    Please provide us with some of those "lies". Repeating Faux News soundbites doesn't count either. I don't see where President Obama has lied about anything. All Presidents have broken promises and unfortunately this President wasn't able to accomplish some his promises because of the opposition he faced from Day 1 (ie closing Guantamano) – if you were paying attention the Repubs starting a campaign against doing so right after Obama took office. Most of what he didn't get done was because it was up to Congress to do it, not the President. Our presidents aren't dictators and all they can really do is put forth their ideas, it is up to Congress to see them put into law. And, yes, the Blue Dog Dems didn't help him either.

    April 10, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Chris Millirones

    It is sad when Obama can make Jimmy Carter look like a great president. And Carter sucked

    April 10, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. skarphace

    TheMan: your head must have been in the sand when GWB was elected in 2000. It was obvious then, way before the events of 9/11, that he planned to go to war with Iraq and remove Hussein. He was just waiting for a valid excuse.

    April 10, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Sametestsameresults

    I am surprised so many men are stupid. It seems like so many men in America think they are cowboys who are still fighting indians and chopping wood everyday.

    April 10, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Shiffit: "We fear the change he explicitly states he wants to make."

    I used to feel the same way. Then I started listening to Paul in his own words instead of his words spun by the media. Every time I have an issue, (ex. the end of the war on drugs, the end of the department of education, the end of FEMA, etc), I go to Paul's website and hear his words on the issue in his forum.

    And almost every time I realize that Ron Paul knows much more about the subject than I do and his views are more valid than I thought mine were.

    All I am saying, is give Paul a chance. He grows on you, believe me."

    What could possibly make you think I don't know what the Rondroid's positions are, haven't listened to him and haven't checked out his website? Is that just what you're telling yourself so you can fathom that someone out there recognizes it is complete and utter batsh-t the guy is selling when he says we shoudl do things like axe the Dept. of Education? When he spews free market randian economic ideology like it hasn't already been proven a failure and subject to abuses throughout our country's and modern global history unless tightly regulated? Sure, he's picked from both sides of the fence enough that I can find a few things to agree with him on, but the guy is still a complete nutjob.

    April 10, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Franky

    Romney on the Economy, "The American Auto Industry should be left to fail if it's not up to saving itself."

    Obama on the Economy, "We must save one of the lynch pins of American manufacturing which has stood as an example of American exceptionalism for nearly 100 years."

    In 2008 GM was near bankruptcy, in 2012 , GM became the world's #1 car manufacturer again. You take your pick for who is trying to build American greatness again. The guy who made his money by buying distressed companies and stripping down to turn a profit, or the guy who wants to rebuild American infrastructure and confidence in the American worker.

    April 10, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Sniffit: sorry, the Shiffit was a typo, not a veiled insult."

    Hehe...no problem. It was more bothersome that you assumed I hadn't thoroughly weighed Rondroid and found him wanting.

    April 10, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. skarphace

    Chris: I am willing to bet you were a Palin fan. You were, weren't you? It shows.

    April 10, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. skarphace

    Sniffit: then I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I feel that the government control of student loans have driven up the cost of continuing education and the same time made it almost a requirement for anyone to get any job without continuing education. This is Paul's position.

    However, I do respect your level of debatge. You aren't a troll like so many here.

    April 10, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. nolimits3333

    Obama represents us, Romney represents them.

    April 10, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    Franky
    ...In 2008 GM was near bankruptcy, in 2012 , GM became the world's #1 car manufacturer again. You take your pick for who is trying to build American greatness again. The guy who made his money by buying distressed companies and stripping down to turn a profit, or the guy who wants to rebuild American infrastructure and confidence in the American worker.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    In 2009, GM did go bankrupt. The difference between Obama's GM bankruptcy and Mitt Romney's GM bankruptcy? About $60 billion of federal tax money. Obama said it wasn't going to cost the taxpayer a dime. In fact, it will cost the American taxpayer about $38 billion when all is said and done. Mitt Romney was correct. Obama was over his head on that one and he represented the union bosses much better than he represented the American taxpayer.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012

    April 10, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Chris Millirones

    Skarphace sorry you are wrong

    April 10, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    Looking at the poll numbers, I would think Perkins' throwing his weight behind the Senate races and not behind Romney is well thought out plan, to keep a "cult" member out of the WH.

    April 10, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "The difference between Obama's GM bankruptcy and Mitt Romney's GM bankruptcy? About $60 billion of federal tax money."

    No, the difference is that Rmoney's "plan" was about as real as unicorn farts, since there were no private lenders available to front the cash for restructuring. The federal government was the "lender of last resort". Stop lying and trying to rewrite history; it makes you look like a GOBP cultist.

    April 10, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Gurgyl

    This Flip-Floo is no good.

    April 10, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "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."

    The only joker here is you, buddy. Nice dodge completely avoiding the FACT that Rmoney has a deficit INCREASE plan and President Obama has a deficit REDUCTION plan. Ignore facts and history all you want; in the meantime the adults recognize your lies for what they are: the desperate cries of a rightwing extremist on the wrong end of history. You lied about cuts; President Obama has made them. He also proposed a bunch more that your GOBP cult refused because it meant tax increases for their precious masters. Grow up.

    April 10, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Larry L

    @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."
    -----------------------------------------------–
    Republicans have essentially nominated a man who represents a religion that still keeps African Americans (and women) from attaining status equal to white males. I strongly suspect they'd still consider them sub-human if Brigham Young University could win without African Americans on the team!

    Across America the population of African Americans generally makes less money, has a tougher time getting access to higher education, and comes in near the bottom for most health statistics – including infant mortality, diabetes, chronic heart disease, and certainly in the area of health insurance availability. The prisons are mostly populated by African Americans and their punishment often is more severe than for whites committing the same crime. In the business world the African American population is poorly represented in higher management and positions of authority. In spite of a few Herman Cains and some professional athletes, the top 1% does not have a statistically valid representation. The Tea Party rallies consistantly showed racist signs and slogans. The ultra-right wing is the home of the white supremist groups and militias. These are facts and to pretend racism doesn't exist is delusional. Why then would any African American relate with the modern Republican Party – an organization more closely alligned with the classic elite theory and not the compassionate conservatism of the past?

    April 10, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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