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. Geltman

    Here's a hint for the repubs; Democrats are business owners too, and they continue to support President Obama. He has raised the Titanic somewhat after Bush hit the iceberg, but we all know there's a ways to go.

    April 10, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. mike

    I cannot trust a man who pays less than 15% in income taxes, and appears to have no problem with it, to be a fair voice on the economy.

    April 10, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    cali girl - 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.
    ====================================================================================================
    I doubt you're a small business owner because you don't know the difference between capital investment and regular income. People who invest their money (like many retired people) get reduced tax rates because because their investments carry RISK, many times, a risk of total loss of their money (just ask GM bond and share holders that Obama screwed!). Regular wages carry no such risk.

    So you want investers to pay over 40% to the government, who takes no risk, and keep 60% while risking the loss of everything? Well, that deal is one many investers will simply decline because the benefit is not worth the risk. Capital investment money will be severly reduced, hurting the entire economy.

    And I doubt you pay 40% in taxes. If you do you need a new accountant.

    April 10, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. DaveinSC

    Sure Romney could reduce the debt. He's used to firing people, and not giving a darn about how they'll live. Just let everyone get laid off and the companys close down. He learned everything he needs to know while at Bain.

    April 10, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Do you not understand that tax breaks to businesses equal jobs? "

    I have trouble understanding things that are not true and are not supported with evidence, but are, in fact, contradicted by many decades of historical record, data and evidence. I suppose the next thing you're going to tell us is that cutting taxes raises the government's revenue?

    You might want to reconsider having these Comment Sections at all, CNN. They're a giant digital record of the failure of modern journalism to inform and educate the public.

    April 10, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. a disgrace

    obama has been the biggest failure in america's history and will be voted out by the largest margin ever!

    April 10, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. girish

    The nation's affair is not buisness,has to think about people . Mr. flip flopper is not steady in thinking ,tells people what they want to hear.He has drawn in rightwing ideology that it will be very hard for people to believe him.He has invested money in foreign accounts and he is not going to declare it

    April 10, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    Romney ain't it
    ...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..
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    These are just some of the consumer products companies more readers here would be familiar with. There are many other companies in financial, industrial and healthcare businesses. But that was not my point. These are healthy, thriving businesses thanks to Bain Capital. Even so, everyone who works in these businesses is not collecting their 99 weeks of unemployment. They are all working at healthy companies. Good for them.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012

    April 10, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. thanks but no thanks

    ==vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012 - from what I can see President Obama is liked more than ANY of the so called GOPers

    I don't like Obama because he lies too much. Too many things he has said have turned out to be lies. Nothing he says is believeable anymore.

    April 10, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Ted van Tol

    Beutifull picture of the President. Shining like Nelson Mandela.
    I hope he will be Pres. for a second term when he will end the
    war in Afghanistan, repeal the military space program and reduce
    nucliar weapons together with Russia.

    April 10, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. ART

    This isn't news to me ,only a moron would vote for Romney

    April 10, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Leede

    We will see how people view Obama when the GOP has made its choice on a candidate. In the end are they going to want to continue to go down the road with higher unemploymenet and deficits or choose to move on. I believe most independents I speak with do not see improvement and hear our classes President speak about other who disagree with him in such unflattering ways is hurting him and we are going to see it in a few months. Obama is finished. He was an utter failure as he did not have the experience to lead our nation.

    April 10, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "People who invest their money (like many retired people) get reduced tax rates because because their investments carry RISK, many times, a risk of total loss of their money (just ask GM bond and share holders that Obama screwed!). Regular wages carry no such risk."

    Neither does investing other peoples' money involve such risk, but that's what Mittens did and it STILL gets treated like investment income. Do I need to point you to the sections of the tax code that create this massive loophole that let's Mittens pay 13.9% effective tax rate while a struggling family with two kids and a combined household income of $60,000 pays about 35%? Or hey, why don't we not get sidetracked by ridiculous ideological unicorn fart theories positing that someone with $250M will stop investing, hording, consolidating and tryign to grow his fortunes if his investment income is suddenly taxed just liek every other form of income? Cuz guess what? He won't stop and neither will the rest of 1%.

    April 10, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. cali girl

    Democrat Class warfare, you don't know me and you have no right to make any speculations. My business is my business, and yes if you knew anything about a true Small business who makes a decent living but is no millionaire, then you don't understand that I pay 40%. I pay on a quarterly system, and it is equal to 40% on the Business. Captials investment is for the higher earners and million holders looking for a way out of paying.
    I know people who have regular jobs at companies and pay close to 32%.
    Go study your tax codes and stay out of mine.

    April 10, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Taran

    Reading these posts demonstrates how extremely (close to violently) divided this country is. Unfortunately it takes a sneak attack on pearl harbor or an event like 9/11 to bring the country together. Doesn't say much for our "advanced" society.

    April 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. SunriseTomorrow

    Mosat of time we assume the one who attacks must be the one who knows better. We need to compare apple to apple. I want to hear "this is what I would have done...." after the attack statement. without the "hows" it's nothing more than a snake oil salesman.

    April 10, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Jay

    Closing American factories and sending their jobs to China does not make you an expert on the economy, it only makes you very rich.

    April 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Mitt ain't it

    "These are healthy, thriving businesses thanks to Bain Capital. Even so, everyone who works in these businesses is not collecting their 99 weeks of unemployment. They are all working at healthy companies. Good for them."

    Not impressed.

    April 10, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Nancy

    what people have forgetten is the mess this country was in when obama came into office. he told us to fix all of it would take time. and he was right. we are finally on the right track. to change presidents, especially one of the reps that is running, would be a total disaster. obama has done great. he has my vote in 2012.

    April 10, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. CJ

    @Democrat Class Warfare: Regular wages carry no risk? Ask some of the millions of people who lost their jobs in 08-09 if their regular wages carried "no risk". It could easily be argued that people who are dependent on regular wages are at the highest risk.

    April 10, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. joshua

    ABC news just like NBC news has proven that they will fabricate information to justify their liberal agenda. You can't trust ABC for their news and certainly their polling information. The only poll you can trust is the final voting tally in November. The same Democrat Party hacks who have Obama leading Romney had Carter leading Reagan and Carter lost in a landslide.

    April 10, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit wrote on page 7:

    Neither does investing other peoples' money involve such risk, but that's what Mittens did and it STILL gets treated like investment income. Do I need to point you to the sections of the tax code that create this massive loophole that let's Mittens pay 13.9% effective tax rate while a struggling family with two kids and a combined household income of $60,000 pays about 35%?
    --------------
    Exactly. Mitt Romney's "income" would have to get reported as "earned income" if he sold widgets. But, because he sells other people's investment money-in other words, he sells capital instead of widgets-he gets to call his income "capital gains".

    Capital gains should come from investing your own money, not someone else's money. The argument is always made about the *risk* involved with investing your money. Where is the risk when you invest someone else's money? If there is a loss, it doesn't come out of your pocket. If there's a profit, it goes through yours before it goes to the investors. No wonder he's a multi-millionaire.

    April 10, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. MaryM

    Mittens, Lets hear about the great job you did in Mass.??? NO, why not, arn't you proud of the jobs you created in Mass (not) or maybe education being one of the lowest rankings in the nation. awwwwwwww can't run on your record.

    April 10, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Retired Army

    CNN Story States: "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%."

    OK CNN.....since when is 64% to 26% "a nearly 2-to-1 advantage"?

    I ain't mad at ya.....jus' askin'........

    April 10, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Another Day in the Idiot Mines

    President Obama and the media need to do a better job on presenting the facts to voters, based on some of those numbers. For instance, anyone who knows the true facts knows that President Obama's plan is s deficit REDUCTION plan and Rmoney's plan is a deficit INCREASE plan. So no one should favor Rmoney on deficit reduction. That would be like hiring a paedophile to run a preschool.

    April 10, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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