Poll: Voters like Obama better than Romney, but split on handling of economy
April 10th, 2012
08:32 AM ET
3 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

    The companies that are repeatedly touted as Bain success stories are predominantly retail and service oriented-companies, while largely ignoring manufacturing. You cannot build an economy with a manufacturing sector that, at best, has remained flat in terms of growth as a portion of the economy. Romney's had his successes with Bain, there is no doubt, but these are not companies that provide steady, long-term employment to people needing to support families: do you know anyone who ahs made a career at Staples or Outback? Romney really does not understand these companies or industries, and his management of the state of MA is a far better indicator of his understanding of the economy: do you really want someone who ranked 47th out of 50 taking over the whole operation, and who never faced the voters of his own state to have them render their opinion? This is not a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs who took enormous risks, this is someone took as few risks as possible who has deluded himslef into thinking he understands the whole picture. He's not fit for the office, period, but if the GOP wants to offer him up for the slaughter, so be it.

    April 10, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Romney cares nothing about anyone that is not rich. Nor does he protest the fact that his church does not allow minorities to become leaders of the church. Any members of his senior staff non-white? Policy makers, not talking heads like the minority Republicans that seem to appear out of nowhere during electon season them fade into the background until needed again.

    April 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Jewels

    Four the Door - I call BS on the Romney/Bain "success". That approach is all about cutting staff. Wake up. He would be bragging more about it if it were deemed something positive for a company and country.

    April 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. paul

    CBS Sunday Morning show showed a clip of Republican primary candidates constantly ripping European countries as do many of the conservatives. Then they showed Germany with less than 6% unemployment, medical care for all, affordable educations, etc. etc. One person they interviewed said, "I just hope the American people are much smarter than the Republican primary candidates". A lot said in that statement.

    April 10, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    Big George in Big D

    What they don't bother to tell you is the people that were polled were democrats by and 11% margin! When the truth comes out, Nobama is NOT in the lead. Please, don't tell me there are that many stupid people in the US that would re-elect that failure of a POTUS!
    -------------------------

    but if the poll went the other way with Mittens the bogus business-man in the lead, you'd be crowing about he's done and that's it, Romney will win. Try again

    April 10, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Four and The Door

    Larry L
    @Dave
    Obama's debt resulted from the Bush wars, tax cuts and spiraling recession he left behind. Why is that hard to see?
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Because the very first thing he did after inauguration was spend $850 billion on a promise of 4 million jobs. This was approved by the Democratic House and Senate right away. Just before unemployment went straight up past 10%. A fact like this clouds our vision of Obama as the guy we would want managing our federal government.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012

    April 10, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. blake

    Am amazed at the naivity and stupidity of nearly half of the American people who support Obama. Am not a big Romney fan, the man is an old school RINO. But Obama is a known commodity. He is a Marxist and is failure and danger on multiple fronts. Anyone that the GOP nominates would be a huge improvement.

    April 10, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. judy

    How could mittens be better with the economy. ? He got money from the government to bail out the olympics and made money shutting down companies. His money is all off shore and tax returns are murky. Give us all a break. Most of us can't go to his heaven. Lets move forward Obama /Biden 2012

    April 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. John Herzog

    Which country would get attacked so that Romney could establish his "toughness" credentials, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or Syria.?...........No question he would start a war with one of them to establish his GOP machoness..

    April 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "Because the very first thing he did after inauguration was spend $850 billion on a promise of 4 million jobs."
    ====

    Didn't you get the memo? Reality has a liberal bias: 4 million jobs have been created so far during Obama's presidency.

    Again, the numbers don't lie.

    April 10, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Bob

    Duane - As I recall, Romney's "success" at "turning around the Olympics" invovled begging the Federal government for more taxpayer money (can you spell BAILOUT?). And as a Massachuetts resident who lived under the reign of Romney, I can tell you he was not impressive. The only reason he didn't run for a second term is that polls showed he would lose. At least he left us with Romney Care. One more thing - there's a lot more to being president than being a good bean counter/businessperson. And Mittens does not have what it takes.

    Duane – St. Pete FLA

    Anyone with half a brain knows Romney has ten times more business experience than Obama. Obama never ran a business, never ran a town, city or state….period. That is a fact no one can dispute. Romney has a track record of success within the business world and with turning the Olympics around……more facts. Obama does have Oprah pulling for him so and he did teach, oh AND he was a community organizer (LOL) so I guess he has plenty of (LOL) experience…….

    April 10, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "He is a Marxist and is failure and danger on multiple fronts."

    Indeed. You would see him that way. He wants to educate yoru children so they don't grow up spouting absolute nonsense like misapplying the word "marxist" to people because you haven't the first clue what it really means..

    April 10, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Dr Knowitall

    I love how the poll is formulated Why would you need to include "additional interviews with randomly selected African Americans, for a total of 199 black respondents" ?

    April 10, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Investment Advisor

    Obama....Likeable but incompetent.

    April 10, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Romney is a Bain capitalist (vulture). He would only invest in America when and if labor and taxes are cheaper here than overseas................ Hell, he doesn`t even bank in America. -– Just how committed to working America do you think he will be ???????

    April 10, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. petemg

    There is so much propaganda out on this election that many will not want to vote. How can people condemn Mr. Romney for being Mormon and yet they accept a president who professes being Christian and yet acts like a Muslim. Would it be possible for the American people to at least get a chance to vote. Mulatto Obama is using his expertize in Hitler's way of thinking that this is truly becoming a Communistic country. Do people not realize that our taxes are going to be increased no matter who is office because of the spending of this regime? Wake up people.

    April 10, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Sunny

    Sorry Obama, but we won't re-elect you again. I voted once for you and you turned out to be nothing more than a liar wasting taxpayers money and your buddies who have primed you to turn this country into socialism will be sorely disappointed. I will vote for Mitt the better choice and can't wait to say bye, bye, Obama

    April 10, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Peace

    We are not going to be swayed by Romney only saying: "I know how to do it, I know how business is done, I have been working in business sector". Show us the proof. And prove it to us that it will work out the way you are thinking. The days of buying words are over!

    April 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Harry

    Looks like Obama will win 4 more years. That's a good thing, a bad thing for the GOP but America doesn't want any more Republican wars and that includes the war on the poor, war on social security, war on medicaid, war on gays and the GOP's favorite war, the war on women. Scott Walker's recent signing to repeal the equal pay law in Wisconsin equals more female republican women will be voting for President Obama.

    April 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. daeh ttub

    "...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%..."

    Someone that can't handle simple math should not be doing any polling or write articles about polls. 2 x 26 = 52%.

    I am so sick of these meaningless polls. They actually call people on land lines. 1) What type of person takes calls on their home phone from polling companies? 2) How many people just don't have lines or simply do not answer calls from people they do not know thanks to caller ID?

    April 10, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "How could mittens be better with the economy. ? He got money from the government to bail out the olympics and made money shutting down companies. "

    Well, first you have to define "better." To the GOPers/Teatrolls, "shut down the company" is precisely what Mittens has experience doing and what they are trying to hire him to do to the federal government...shut it down. They consider that "better."

    April 10, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Jerry

    "Another GSA official placed on leave in spending controversy."

    Thank you Mr. Obama. Now, now, where does the Buck stops?!

    April 10, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Rick

    Why would anyone think Romney would do better at cutting the deficits? Obama is calling for tax INCREASES, which will reduce the deficit (as they did in the 90s). Romney wants even more tax CUTS, which are what caused the deficits in the first place (see 80s under Reagan, 2000s under Bush).

    April 10, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Four and The Door

    Jewels
    Four the Door – I call BS on the Romney/Bain "success". That approach is all about cutting staff. Wake up. He would be bragging more about it if it were deemed something positive for a company and country.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    So your idea of a successful business plan is cutting staff? Really? How successful have you been with this, Jewels?

    Bain Capital has turned around companies and added and saved tens of thousands of jobs at companies all over America. All kinds of things have changed in a variety of new business plans that have worked. These changes include technology, business processes, marketing programs, product changes, and yes, changes in staff, equipment, suppliers, customers, locations...all of those things that need to work correctly to make a successful business.

    What has Obama done? Well, he spent a lot of money, raised the debt ceiling and now wants to raise taxes. It doesn't seem like the kind of guy that likes to tackle the tough stuff. Like getting spending in control. That takes a different kind of guy. The kind of guy we need to manage our runaway out of control federal government. $16 trillion in the hole.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012

    April 10, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. IndeePendant

    Black votes (will) count (again) in 2012!!! Obama O'Drama O'Mama is going to roast Romney., who will say, "Isn't it nice, I always wanted to look black.. my neighbor is a black.. i wanted a black dog, but my wife has a few white dogs.. i love black men and women... i love everything black... even my Presidential hopes look very dark which is black, so i love it.."

    April 10, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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