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. Mitt ain't it

    @Rudy

    Thanks for playing along with Four. I found I couldn't continue conversing with someone who thinks middle class Americans should be content working 3 minimum wage Bain Capital jobs than they would be working one 40 hour a week job with benefits previous generations were all given the opportunity to enjoy and retire from.

    April 10, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Mojo Jack

    Of course they had to pick the topic of the economy. Romney and the Republicons will win the argument every time when it comes to discussing money. Romney has enough supporters to put him in the spotlight but he just doesn't have good answers for any other of the pressing issues.
    The economy is important but a one-trick pony isn't who I want running this country.

    April 10, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Taran

    @Fair is Fair, Four and the Door, and Truth and nothing but (I know you are in here somewhere), spot on as usual, but I don't know why you keep trying with some of these people that refuse to believe the facts, instead picking and choosing their own very narrow version of the facts. Some of what they say is actually true, but they neglect the whole story or the "big picture."

    April 10, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Larry L

    @jim

    "This administration just committed 1.5 billion dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood. For all who are not aware, the Muslim Brotherhood is our enemy. Yes that's right, Washington is giving our tax dollars to people who want to destroy us."
    ----------------------------------------------–
    Jim – I'll assume you're talking about the aid agreement we have with Egypt based on the Camp David Accord where we give aid to both Israel and Egypt and keep the Multinational Force & Observers in the Sinai. Israel of course gets far more than that based on other agreements. Still, if we violate the Camp David Accord both aid packages should logically go away. You're assuming the Muslim Brotherhood will control the government of Egypt when they hold an election – far from reality with their top candidate blocked because of allogations his mother once held a U.S. passport. You're also being quite dishonest in the spin you put on the statement. Listening to Fox News will do that to a bigot.

    April 10, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. conrad

    For all those saying Obama will be defeated, keep this in mind .... Romney has been relentlessly campaigning for the past 8 months while Obama hasn't. Still, Obama is comfortably ahead. Just wait until the campaign gets going and Romney flips and flops like a big fat wet fish. Meanwhile, Obama will actually have the opportunity to highlight all his success's and the underwhelming ick that Romney is will come out in full. The people will not forget the disaster the Republican congress has been, Right-wing Christians will stay home, and Obama and the Democratic party will sweep the elections landslide style.

    April 10, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""a struggling family with two kids and a combined household income of $60,000 pays about 35%"
    ---
    Nice whopper, Sniffit.

    A family of 4 qualifies for 4 deductions @ about $10K each along with a standard deduction of almost $8K (provided they don't get more by itemizing), bringing the taxable amount down to $12K putting them into the 10% tax bracket, or a net tax due of $1200, equating to an effective tax rate of 2%. "The numbers don't lie".
    "

    Indeed, I misquoted what I was working with and forgot about the deductions for the kids. However, the 2% you arrived at is also incorrect. Having trouble finding what I initially was going from but maybe this is more to the point anyway: the effective rate for the middle quintile is a bout 14.5%...that the 20% of the population with incomes falling between the 40th percentile and 60th percentile. Anyhoo, such are the hazards of trying to quick-quote for a message board lol.

    See tho...it's not so hard admitting when you got something wrong...you goofs should try it some time in relation to your trickle-down fantasies.

    April 10, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    People were saying that Mitt Romney looked the guy who fired your dad long, long before he put the debate to rest by saying, "I like firing people." And, chuckled at himself for being so eloquent.

    Can Mitt Romney turn his head without turning his entire upper torso, shoulders and all.

    April 10, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. conrad

    For all those saying Obama will be defeated, keep this in mind .... Romney has been relentlessly campaigning for the past 8 months while Obama hasn't. Still, Obama is comfortably ahead. Just wait until the campaign gets going and Romney flips and flops like a big bloated fish. Meanwhile, Obama will actually have the opportunity to highlight all his success's and the underwhelming ick that Romney is will come out in full. The people will not forget the disaster the Republican congress has been, Right-wing Christians will stay home, and Obama and the Democratic party will sweep the elections landslide style

    April 10, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Jake

    I like Obama. I don't like Romney. There! I got my opinion in!

    April 10, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. conrad

    For all those saying Obama will be defeated, keep this in mind .... Romney has been relentlessly campaigning for the past 8 months while Obama hasn't. Still, Obama is comfortably ahead. Just wait until the campaign gets going and Romney flips and flops like a big bloated fish. Meanwhile, Obama will actually have the opportunity to highlight all his success's and the underwhelming ick that Romney is will come out in full. The people will not forget the disaster the Republican congress has been, The TP and religious types will stay home, and Obama and the Democratic party will sweep the elections landslide style

    April 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "If anyone goes to the Obama fundraiser at Mike/Denise Illitches place and spends $40,000 to get a picture with this nit wit please send it to me so I can use for target practice! There are some really stupid people in the good old USA!"

    And you were trying to give us an example of one of those stupid people by suggesting using pictures of a sitting POTUS for "target practice"? Why not just call the FBI and ask for an interview directly?

    April 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. 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.

    April 10, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    ThinkAgain wrote on page 9:

    @The Real Truth and yada yada: "And if you really are in California, you suffer at the hands of all the leftist looney tunes running that state into the ground with their astronomical tax rates."

    What started driving California into the ground was when all the business owners started breaking the law by hiring illegal aliens (and laying off Americans making a living wage). The underpaid illegals turned to the State government for help, which has put a strain on the social services in Cali. Also, Prop 13, while great for retirees, has kept property taxes artificially low, which is a huge drain on revenue.
    ------------------------–
    That's a fact. In 2000, 90% of hotel workers were unionized American workers, mostly black Americans. By 2008, 85% of the hotel workers were non-union employees, mostly spanish speaking "recent immigrants." Meanwhile, profits of the top executives quadrupled over the same time frame.

    April 10, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Taran wrote:

    Taran

    @Fair is Fair, Four and the Door, and Truth and nothing but (I know you are in here somewhere), spot on as usual, but I don't know why you keep trying with some of these people that refuse to believe the facts, instead picking and choosing their own very narrow version of the facts. Some of what they say is actually true, but they neglect the whole story or the "big picture."
    -------------
    Uh, maybe because all of the facts that you have ever cited have turned out to be bogus or pitifully juvenile attempts at cherry picking. You lost all credibility when you blamed Pres. Obama for a gas station in Orlando selling gas for $6.50 per gallon. Then you doubled your time in the penalty box by citing an Alaska gas statiion doing something similar. See ya'.

    April 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. curious

    Being president of America is so much more than job numbers. America practices capitalism and has the House, the Senate and the Fed to direct domestic economic policy. The president's handling of international affairs is his most important duty. I believe Romney would have this country at war and hated, as we were under Bush. The only way to cure the tax breaks deficit is though increased exports not war budgets that pay off rich supporters.

    April 10, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. docame

    "Mojo Jack

    Of course they had to pick the topic of the economy. Romney and the Republicons will win the argument every time when it comes to discussing money."

    How does manipulating the economy so that people that have Mitt's kind of money win and the rest of us lose indicate that repubs know better on this issue? I'm just curious, because I like winning, to tell you the truth. Maybe you like losing, I guess?

    April 10, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Pat

    Now how is a poll which confirms what we all know is a fact for last 4 months, suddenly good news for Obama. Obama knows he has the lead and he also knows he will easily defeat this FlipFlopper who has hid his money in the Swiss Bank accounts and Cayman islands.

    April 10, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Larry L

    @Four and The Door

    Larry L

    "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."
    -----------------------------------------------
    He created 4.5 million jobs since making that promise – check your numbers. I've seen your comments about economics so I'll assume you have an understanding of the trajectory and momentum of the curve. Can you envision anything possible to prevent that curve from reaching 9.8% when over 8 million jobs were lost BEFORE President Obama took office? The stimujlus spending, the bailout of the financial district and the auto industry, and some attempt to control runaway healthcare costs had to be done to prevent a deep depression. What would you have done" Clearly the cut & spend plan of the previous adminsitration dien't work. What specific thing would YOU have done faced with the same challenges – especially with an obstructionist Republican side of the aisle?

    April 10, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Pat

    Romneys best bet is to talk about birth control pills and religion:) I bet this Mormon proselytizer is a expert on that. Plus he also talk about his failed job creation record as Gov of MA.

    April 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Bean

    In 3.5 years he has doubled the insane deficits of Bush for the prior 8 years."

    You mean by putting the Bush war costs on the books? Save your lies for the suckers you play; that manure ain't gonna fly here.
    --------------------------------------------–
    Numbers don't lie. Facts are facts. This seems to be continuing theme of the followers of the Great Pretender, Obama. They do not even acknowledge factual data. At least the GOP knows Bush was an abomination on deficit controls and spending but he is a weekend amateur compared to the divide our nation President. If you think this is harsh listen to how Obama speaks publicly about anyone who disagrees with him – Congress, SOTUS, ect. He is classes.

    April 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. docame

    If anyone gets a pic of Sniffit's head, please send to me. I'll use that for target practice and then as toilet paper.

    April 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote on page 8:

    Nice whopper, Sniffit.

    A family of 4 qualifies for 4 deductions @ about $10K each along with a standard deduction of almost $8K (provided they don't get more by itemizing), bringing the taxable amount down to $12K putting them into the 10% tax bracket, or a net tax due of $1200, equating to an effective tax rate of 2%. "The numbers don't lie".
    ------------------–
    The numbers do not lie, but you do. You've completely forgotten about the AMT, which throws most all of those figures and deductions straight out of the window. A family of four making $60k would pay at least 30%.

    April 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. 60minuteman

    Santorum is a false prophet, and Romney is a false profiteer.

    April 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    Truth, what do you think pays for infrastructure? Good intentions? Faith healing? Your comments on CA either indicate ignorance, intellectual apathy, or a mixture of both. States with aging infrastructures need to be maintained and updated, otherwise buinesses will leave: that means taxes. The Red States that lured businesses away from the Midwest, Northeast and California are having, or will have to raise their tax rates in order to pay for the maintenance of the infrastructure they already gave away at bargain-basement prices. The South and the Southwest are a ticking fiscal time bomb: you already saw Southern governors looting Stim funds to balance their budgets retroactively( Perry, Sanford, Jindall, etc), and soon they will have to raise taxes or have deteriorating infrastructure and see the businesses go overseas. There is nothing left for them to cut at the state level ( look at TX): a classic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face. The GOP governors, like ones who ran CA for most of the last 20-30 years, cut their own revenue streams, and are now facing a situation where they are so far in debt it will take a mammoth austerity program coupled with tax increases to make up for decades of lousy policy. Your understanding of these issues is so skewed by your own hatred that you cannot even admit when someone is right. Taran is correct in one sense, but he neglected to tell you that you and your friends are equally guilty of not seeing the big picture.

    April 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    conrad
    For all those saying Obama will be defeated, keep this in mind .... Romney has been relentlessly campaigning for the past 8 months while Obama hasn't.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    But Obama has over three years of poor performance to answer for and no plan forward except more of the same. We don't want to go back to the same mistakes of 2009 and 2010. We need to go forward. Mitt Romney has the capability, the experience and the plan.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012

    April 10, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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