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. Yer Country

    If you believe that Mitt Romney will not let his religion color his thinking, think again. If you are an experienced adult and you still believe what the Mormons believe, time for a brain check. Look into Mormon beliefs. You won't believe what you read and hear. It is total and complete claptrap.

    April 10, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. PorkNBeans

    If the republicans step aside and quit their treasonous acts and allow the president to work, the economy would improve. we all know that the republicans have stated that they will continue to thwart efforts to improve the economy as they think this action will assure them a november victory.

    April 10, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Romney lies. Why did you not run for re election. Because the polls show that you would loose. Well polls show that you would loose in november so quit now. Obama will open a can whop ass on you so do your self a favour and quit now. Obama / biden 2012. The only trusted way forward.

    April 10, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)
    ...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.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Are you kidding? The same week after the historic 2008 elections the big 3 CEO's were sitting down at a conference table with who? The only lenders they cared about. President-elect Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Payback time. What kind of a deal do you have for us?!?! They knew where the real deep pockets were. Washington DC.

    April 10, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Nancy

    So CNN picks the ONE thing in the survey that makes the President look weaker than Romney and sticks it as high up as they can for what? Honestly the sensationalism of this network is out of control. If one takes the time to look at the entire survey it is clear that Romney is in trouble not the President.

    April 10, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Obama 2012 - For sure!

    He will be re-elected, no way Romney, just no way.

    April 10, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. CBR

    The poll is a little premature. Are we going to have polling every week until the election? We need to end this practice and allow the candidates to speak their minds to us and not to those who are polled. Do you need someone to speak for or to answer for you?

    April 10, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    @ FEILD1STSGT........

    as with most right wingers I am willing to beat you have NO proof of Obama ever calling Republicans racists.....if anything I have heard him call them "our Republican friends". President Obama as I checked last had MORE whites in his cabinet than blacks and seeing his own mother was white calling this man a racist like Glenn Beck claimed is outlandish. Just think how it would be view by people like you if Obama HAD appointed more blacks to high positions even if they were the most qualified. You would be the first to cry RACISTS!! As far as Republicans being racist I will say this not all conservatives are racits but all racists are CONSERVATIVES. You cannot be a liberal or progressive and be a racist and if you claim to be both it is not true.

    April 10, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. ryan

    Romney's only economic plan is to give himself and his pals a big, fat tax break. Let the middle class continue to pick up the tab.

    April 10, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Andrew

    Just think about it, if both parties use the money that they spend on the national debt the united states would not be in debt! If both parties donate the money that they spend to help individuals out it would show that they actually care for people. But instead they just care about themselves and see if they can get elected or reelected. GREEDY People!

    April 10, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "The American people aren't stupid and know they could never run their personal finances this way"

    The Amurikan people would never be so stupid as to go to their boss and say "please pay me less even though I still have fixed expenses that I will no longer be able to cover if you cut my pay." THAT IS WHAT THE GOP DID WHEN IT ISSUED MASSIVE TAX UTS TO THE EXTREMELY WEALTHY.

    April 10, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Sniffit

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

    No. The differenceS ARE $60B in federal tax money AND the non-existence of GM. Grow up. There would have been ZERO private investor money to step in and save GM and, in fact, there ACTUALLY WAS NONE. Pretending that Mittens' "plan" for "saving" GM would somehow not have resulted in a massive liquidation and the loss of thousands of jobs is FOOLISHNESS. Mittens' "plan" would, infact, have guaranteed it.

    April 10, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. JerseyGirl

    @george-
    He will get the liberal vote, woman, independents, hispanics, blacks, gays and from what I've been reading, MANY republicans. 4 more years. Deal with it.
    -- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    I HAVE TO AGREE! Obama 2012! And Hillary or Elizabeth Warren in 2016! Sorry, Repubs, deal with it!!! LOL.

    April 10, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Sonman

    I have to wonder what planet you people are from ?? How can you possibly say Obama has done a good job ? The US is more divided than I have ever seen in my 50 years and I'm a middle of the roader. You people are fools or suckers or you live off of the government dole. That's the only possible reason you would support this incredibly weak president.

    April 10, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. MonkeyMan

    It is laughable that anyone can defend this current administration's record on the economy. They could raise taxes to 100% and still manage to spend every penny leveraging this country more and more. President Obama has zero discipline and has been the worst manager of the economy this country has EVER seen and that includes a free-spending GWB administration – which could not under any definition be called fiscally conservative. Part of me hopes that Obama wins this November so that in 5 years we are looking down the barrel of complete default and the 43% supporting Obama get what they deserve.

    April 10, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. JerseyGirl

    I say that Willard R-Money has FLIP-FLOPPED on over a DOZEN opinions! I hope someone here can list them, just to educate some of these Repubs posting here that think he is a legiitimate candidate! He is so awful. A phony, a total liar, so many negatives. He will never ever be president. Face it, folks!

    April 10, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. pb

    CNN, being to the right, always attacks Pres O and the Democrats. This election will be another Palin experience. Why do I even scan this newspaper?

    April 10, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. Get Real

    I so wish we were choosing Hillary over Huckabee. The Dems disappointed me in 2008 when they could not get the job of getting Hillary the nomination completed. Shame on you.

    April 10, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. Jimh77

    Another Day in the Idiot Mines, Sorry, do some homework. Most of this was left by Bush so get your facts right before blasting your fingers off. As far as I am concerned, this CNN poll is BS, the only people on the fence are made up by CNN. And why do they care anyways? Obama has it in the bag, Romney is just NOT Presidential material in any way, hell I would not even let him run my Bridge game.

    April 10, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  20. Squigman

    Poll? What poll are you talking about? Apparently, everytime you, or any pollster you know takes said poll, the people questioned are the same from all polls taken before. Quit trying to fix the outcome of the elections by taking your polls where disgruntled republicans are the only people asked to participate. Sick of the games.

    April 10, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. diesel

    So let me get this straight, 46% of Americans think Obama is better at creating jobs then Romney, sorry there is only one big problem, how do you account for the last 3 years. Obama is an out right socialist, his experience as a community organizer has shown how bad he is at understanding economics. He might be able to run a hot dog stand if Romney was looking over his shoulder and coaching him.
    Unfortunately the people in the poll have as bad an understanding of economics as Obama.

    April 10, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  22. realitycheckplease

    I am not President Obama's biggest fan, but there is no way in you know where that I would vote Republican this year. Yes, the deficit went through the roof, but that's what happens when you take 2 wars off the credit card and put them on the books to be paid. I've got 3 daughters, 3nieces and 7 female cousins and I'll be d@mmed if I let anyone treat them like second class citizen when it comes to contraception (full disclosure: 2 of my girls take birth control pills to regulate their monthy cycles, without those pills [1 a day Rush, not 1 everytime you get your freak on-like your viagra] my girls would be in pain (severe cramps, enough to make them throw up), and the flow would make going to school and their jobs impossible. Enough negative ads, if you can't run on your own platform, get out of the race.

    April 10, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. Loathstheright

    Which shows just how stupid the American voter is...the fact that it is even close shows that.
    Only a M0R0N would vote for a vulture capitalist who dodged the draft, likes firing Americans, sends their jobs overseas and then hides the money in overseas accounts over Obama.

    April 10, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    "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 President Obama's policies are socialist, then please explain why that hotbed of capitalist activity, the US stock market, has gained $17 TRILLION in value since 2009?

    *crickets*

    April 10, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    The REAL Truth

    @ThinkAgain – The Real Truth and yada yada:
    ----–
    That was not me... I assume its was directed at Truth and Nothing But blah, blah, blah right? He's the one who thinks what ails to US is all caused by the Dems, not the failed GOBP policies of the last 50+ yrs.

    Yes, you are making the correct assumption.

    April 10, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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