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. cali girl

    The economy is improving. GDP is up and going steady at every report. Obama has very smart economists and teams of people to update him. We are going in the right direction. I have seen a great improvement for our family in the last year. It was horrible in 2007.
    For those complaining about taxes, let me fill you in. As a small business owner, under Bush we paid close to 40% Romney paid 14% last year. Do the math and quit complaining about it is not fair to do fair share. If I pay 40% the gazillionairs should at least get that much or more.

    April 10, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. GOP RIP

    I must live in a parallel universe. More people think that ROMNEY would do a better job with the economy?? This is a guy who only cares about millionaires and thinks the "very poor are doing fine". Obama has added over 4 million jobs, unemployment is down to 8.2% and he is making progress every day.

    This country deserves to be destroyed if Romney gets elected. I hope it does....so people will wake up.

    April 10, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Harry

    President Obama will win the election. We saw what the teahadists party brought to the table and nobody ever wants to see that kind of blind hatred again. Bye bye GOP. Clean out your party of the faux christian conservatives and get back to us with something electable in 2016

    April 10, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    Pedro
    Romney was a successful businessman. But his success came at the expense of many others. He did not build businesses from the ground up as he would like you to believe. He bought businesses then either liquidated their assets and laid everyone off....
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Nice try Pedro. Not really, but it was a try anyway.
    Mitt Romney never said he built businesses from the ground up. And why is that even in the discussion? You can create jobs by growing companies that already exist. So here is a list of the companies you suggest he liquidated and fired everyone to make his $trillions: Michaels, The Burlington Coat Factory, Staples, Outback Steak Houses, Gymboree, Evinrude, AMC Entertainment, The Weather Channel, Toys R Us and Clear Channel Communications. The list goes on with many industrial, financial and healthcare companies that aren't household names. In any event, you see that these are not liquidated and shut down businesses. You have been mislead by the Washington Democratic Spin Machine.

    April 10, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. PaMom

    Only those who don't believe in hard work, the opportunities this country offers and understand business would vote for Obama.His lack of business experience is very evident but his organizing experience is very evident by his "divide and conquer" approach. The man has seriously hurt small businesses and will hurt all of us when Obamacare is implemented.Do you not understand that tax breaks to businesses equal jobs? Do you really want to further tax the people who invest their money to create jobs? Why did he not go after the insurance industry and allow interstate commerce....they support him! Why did GM get bailout....the Union supports him. All his decisions are poor for this countries economy but fund his war chest. As much as he denegrates Wall St, he coolect their checks at $1000 plate dinners. Wake up peole or continue to take your handouts and watch this country go down the same drain as England, France and Greece.!

    April 10, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. MaryM

    President Obama will be re-elected. and America, we need to clean HOUSE and get rid of ALL the obstructionist AND misogynist that are willing to destroy America just to make President Obama a one term president.
    Oh and BTW repubs, President Obama has the majority of the American womens votes.
    Repubs, you lose.

    April 10, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Romney ain't it

    "My gawd man. Are you an advertising robot or a person..."

    Judging by his comments, he's nothing more than a immature prankster playing grown-up.

    April 10, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. poinpounderthe3rd

    Romney said he isn't concerned about the poor because they have a safety net. That is scary stuff. Romney talks out both sides of his mouth and is not presidential material. Republicans don't even like Romney.

    April 10, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Obama knows how to create jobs??? Government jobs DEFINITELY! Create BOGUS "green energy" jobs that disappear when the company goes bankrupt costing taxpayers millions if not billions DEFINITELY! Create REAL private sector jobs, ABSOLUTELY NOT. He's been a complete failure for 4 years because his policies have thrown a wet blanket over the private sector. They are all bracing for the massive tax increases, new rules and regs and devastating Obamacare fiasco. The miniscule that have been created over the last few months are a PITTANCE of what our country needs and should be creating to get the country back on track economically.

    The TRUTH is NOBODY truly believes Obama knows how to create jobs. The ones that say he does are either totally ignorant of the facts or just won't bring themselves to admit he's been a failure on the economy.

    April 10, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. gg

    340 billion is nothing compared to what the unisured is going to cost the tax payers in the next couple years

    April 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. snowdogg

    Romney isn't a fun guy.

    April 10, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. LetsRide

    Things are finally getting better. We can return to the Romney-Bush policies that ruined so many lives, or stay with Obama who is bringing America back. That's the choice people.

    April 10, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. bilk7

    Anybody who actually thinks that Mitt Romney would do better on the economy needs to get informed about what direction we are going in now and what direction we were heading in back in 2008. Romney's policies would take us back to that downward spiral towards a depression. The facts show that, although moving slowly, we are heading in the right direction under Obama.

    April 10, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Angie

    Well, my newly unemployed self certainly isn't "doing fine" and the holes in those "safety nets" are getting absurdly larger. In signing up for unemployment "benefits" I will be bringing in less than 1/3 of my normal income and those benefits will run out a heck of alot sooner than they have in the past. I sure won't be able to afford my own car elevator this year but I will have to settle for keeping the electricity and water on instead.

    April 10, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. rosaadriana

    I think Romney would do a terrible job on the economy. His only interest is lowering taxes for himself and his uber rich buddies, he doesn't care about the debt or anyone else. IF he actually does what he says he will it will be an economic disaster. Hello guilded age for him and Depression for the rest of us.

    April 10, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    You know you're an all-American conservative if you believe .....

    -that Barack Obama is muslim, despite the fact that you chastised him for sitting in a baptist chruch for 20 years.
    -that Barack Obama is Kenyan, despite the fact that the GWB administration Election Commission vetted his credentials.
    -Paul Ryan when he said, "We're not cutting tax revenue. We're cutting tax rates."...and tax cuts are not spending.
    -that Barack Obama created the annual $1.5 trillion deficit, which is now down to under $1 trillion.
    -that Ronald Reagan was the greatest ever, despite his tripling the national debt, and increasing deficit by a factor of 10.
    -that I made this stuff up.

    April 10, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. jason

    LOL got to love CNN. Pollers "split" on who can handle the econ better but yet Romney leads by 4 points?!

    Seems like it should be a lot more tho, given Romney's background and Obama's terrible performance over the last 3 1/2 years.

    And really on creating jobs??? lol Obama? This guy still can't get unemployment below its original mark since he took office = FAIL.

    April 10, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "The miniscule that have been created over the last few months are a PITTANCE of what our country needs and should be creating to get the country back on track economically.

    The TRUTH is NOBODY truly believes Obama knows how to create jobs. The ones that say he does are either totally ignorant of the facts or just won't bring themselves to admit he's been a failure on the economy."

    Yes, 4M jobs (about half of what was lost) is a "pittance." Yawn.

    I suppose if "nobody" believes jobs have been created under Obama, then that means "everyone" is a complete freekin moron who likes to deny verifiable data.

    The numbers don't lie.

    April 10, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Susan in Arkansas

    Thank you, Sniffitt, for educating us with honest, factual information and not "pseudo facts" (read–personal opinions) that some of these commenters seem to pull from their backsides.

    April 10, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Romney's policies would take us back to that downward spiral towards a depression."

    It's a feature, not a bug.

    April 10, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. Reggie from LA

    Angie
    Your comment is critically important, as a teaching moment. For some reason, many folks believe that there are lazy, shiftless people out there stalking "unemployment money". Unmeployment Insurance is not a preferred livelihood. It doesn't pay enough. If you are able to collect it, it's ONLY BECAUSE you were working at some point before collecting. If you think people get rich on UI, look up your state's MAXIMUM benefit and see if you'd want to live on that amount.

    April 10, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Romney ain't it

    "Michaels, The Burlington Coat Factory, Staples, Outback Steak Houses, Gymboree, Evinrude, AMC Entertainment, The Weather Channel, Toys R Us and Clear Channel Communications. "

    No doubt those who sit in their parent's homes and blog all day might think these businesses and their minimum wages are the "New America" courtesy of Mitt Romney's investment prowess, but those who are trying to raise families probably aren't all that impressed. Especially those who would rather spend quality time with their children, not work 3 minimum wage jobs just to put food on the table.

    April 10, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    from what I can see President Obama is liked more than ANY of the so called GOPers. Just checkout the likeability of both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Yet it will take more than being likeable to win this election. The GOP is going to the 'he is not one of us" route again and Karl Rove and company are already gearing up for i. This is going to be an ugly election and perhaps American will tire of all the negativity CrossRoads and the Koch Brothers will put out and elect Obama again.

    April 10, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Reggie from LA

    Hey @Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country
    Actually he did create some jobs, but President Obama is one of the first to say that businesses are the job creators. See, you just want to assert non-factual stuff that you either have come to understand or extracted from FAUX news. BTW, who stood in the way of proposing a jobs bill that would encourage job creation. Hint: Not Obama.

    April 10, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. The REAL Truth

    @PaMom – Only those who don't believe in hard work, the opportunities this country offers and understand business would vote for Obama.His lack of business experience is very evident but his organizing experience is very evident by his "divide and conquer" approach. The man has seriously hurt small businesses and will hurt all of us when Obamacare is implemented.Do you not understand that tax breaks to businesses equal jobs?
    -------------------------------
    Get a grip pls mom! It's obvious you a being spoon-fed the right wing nut spout-rage. Nice try, but reducing business taxes DOES NOT CREATE JOBS!!!! Do a little research. It's completely INACCURATE!
    Business job growth is based on the need to produce goods and services and the potential for PROFIT! Businesses BORROW money from Banks (or other sources) to expand, and most have few capital reserves. Lowering taxes to create jobs is a fallacy, and a little research on your part would have born that out!

    April 10, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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