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. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "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."

    Your racial comments are both ignorant and unhelpful, not to mention condescending. Has it ever occurred to you that the reason the Dems have such strong minority support is because minorities are perfectly capable of listening to both sides and making up their own minds? Why don't you simply accept the most simple, obvious and true explanation? Your GOBP cult is a haven for racists and pushes policies that a vast majority of minority voters correctly perceive as harmful to them,

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

    Check out on last night's "Colbert Report" Stephen's interview with former GM Chairman 80-year-old Bob Lutz. Even though he's a Republican, Lutz believes that Mittens was totally wrong about not wanting to bailout the auto industry, thinks President Obama made the right decision in doing so (as any government should have, given how not doing it would have devastated the American economy), and offers as proof of the rightness of the decision the FACT that GM is currently the #1 car company in the world.

    BTW, at the end of the interview, Lutz mentions that he does 40 pushups every morning – and then promptly went on to beat Stephen in a pushups contest.
    .

    April 10, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. JonDie

    I have plenty of gripes about Obama.
    But the U.S. almost plunged into a second Great Depression thanks to the policies Romney supports...and now we're actually considering electing Romney to finish what George W. Bush started?
    I won't vote for Romney!
    I'd vote for Ron "Looney Tunes" Paul first.

    April 10, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  4. JiminNM

    Neither Obama nor Romney are fit to serve as the American President.

    April 10, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  5. JiminNM

    Obama will win by default as Ron Paul supporters will never vote for Romney if he happens to get the nomination. Santorum should not endorse Romney.

    April 10, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. Scales of Justicw

    I am still trying to process Romney's car elevator in his new home under construction. I mean really now -a car elevator. Think about it.

    April 10, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. bill davis

    Romney knows how to make a buck, Obam knows how to spend a buck and start a race riot...and take a vacation.

    April 10, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. Skip Skeptic

    GOP should make better moves so the GOP nominee will win in november.

    April 10, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. Rob

    There's no split. Obama's finished. He may as well start packing his bags now. Americans are going to send him packing in November. What a failed President. He's made Jimmy Carter look good, and I never thought I'd see that day.

    April 10, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    Well, let's see. Romney is a member of, and fully supports, the party whose stupid, shortsighted, greedy mismanagement got us into the Great Recession, and Obama is the one who's been working to fix the mess, all the while being sabotaged by the mess-makers. gee, wonder which one would be better for the country. anyone whose IQ is a bigger number than their shoe size can figure this out. the rest will vote for Romney.

    April 10, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. Sunny

    After 3 years with Obama it is clear I will vote for Romney

    April 10, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  12. Sue

    Plain and simple, the republicans don't give a damn about ANYONE else but themselves – their ego won't let them. Hate is so ingrained in them that they cannot see beyond it. The good of our country means nothing to them. Their own self interests cloud their judgement and they are totally unperceptive to anyone that doesn't share their beliefs. It is both sad and reprehensible for the damage that is being inflicted on our country.

    April 10, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Sane

    There is only one difference.. It is a choice of whether you like a white etch-a-sketch or black etch-a-sketch.. The rest is all the same.. Both never speak anything that is truth.. both flip and flop all the time..

    April 10, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  14. saywho

    No president should be allowed to put his country above his church. Notice I said church.

    April 10, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  15. oman99

    Romney is the man of people. Of course that is if people are corporations.

    April 10, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. Tim

    Wow, CNN's office Poll favors Obama. Who would have thunk it?

    April 10, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  17. Jt

    Never has America been so divided than under this current president. Those who want to blame other parties for the disparity please...look at all the presidents who were successful leading disjointed congresses before him. He is not a leader and is trying to divide our country into rich vs. poor, women vs. men, black vs. white...etc to save his job. WAKE UP people, The government does not know better and we are one free people and should stand as such.

    April 10, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  18. sonnie3

    Hope we get a leader the next time around and not a teleprompter puppet.

    April 10, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  19. sonnie3

    Its the Government that is the problem. Its to big and bloated now and if it takes over health care on a manatory basis we are domed as a free, society and will soon be branded with a number and given our rations. A dictator is what we will have??

    April 10, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. sonnie3

    Yes Germany is a good leading example of a Country on the right path. Everybody works. And are proud to have a job. They live with in their means. They know how to spend less than they take in. They know how to cut waste to the bare bone.
    Yoou don't see obama over there taking lessons and getting advise. But he should if really likes America.
    If obama would just quit printing more money, we might get on the right track. obama has been very bad for America.He and his family are setting a bad example for the rest of us.

    April 10, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  21. Sage Sophos the second!

    No wonder everyone loves the West Coast!! cool headed people!!! Bravo CaliforniaBC!!
    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 11, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. MyCountry1234

    @Yer Country Don't bring up the religious discussion please... Romney is Christian and Obama is Muslim. We shouldn't judge them for their personal beliefs, but if you're going to point to one being bad, at least look at both groups. Christianity helped establish America and has been here for a long time, Islaam is the newcomer and unfortunately America has had worse experiences with it.

    On topic, Obama is still the president who has hiked unemployment to an all time high and has increased the debt more than any other President to date. I don't know about you, but I would like to have a job for the rest of my life so I can pay for school and get an apartment and afford to have a family. Romney gives me more hope for that.

    Basically, I don't think you can give Obama much credit as far as the economy goes. If you want the image of America to improve and if you want to feel more secure in your job and in all aspects of your financial life, Romney is looking like the better candidate.

    April 11, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Here's a question for whichever "self" Mittens chooses to be as he "pivots" in preparation of the general election in November:

    1. You believe that "corporations are people, my friend." What was/is the gender of Bain Capital, the company one of you Romneys co-founded?

    2. As a Mormon who believes in Baptism of the Dead, can corporations (since they are people) be baptized into the Mormon Church after they've died?

    3. Please explain how this can happen, since corporations can't die.

    4. Please explain how something that cannot die is a person.

    April 11, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  24. Spencer

    Obama has had his 4 years to "make a difference." Times up, time to move over.

    April 11, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  25. Focus

    The republican party whips just gave the election to Obama. I will not vote for either Obama or Romney neither one will get my vote. With as many canadates that the republican party had they choose the one with the most money thats all. They did not think Romey would get the elected last election so why do they think he can win this one.

    April 11, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
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