CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney
April 16th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney

(CNN) - President Barack Obama holds a nine-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney thanks in part to the perception that the president is more likeable and more in touch with the problems facing women and middle class Americans, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday also indicates a large gender gap that benefits Obama, but the public is divided on which candidate can best jump-start the economy.

Full poll (pdf)

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

According to the poll, 52% of registered voters say if the presidential election were held today, they would vote for the president, with 43% saying they would cast a ballot for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is making his second bid for the White House. The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, a few days after former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his bid for the GOP nomination. Even though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continue their long-shot bids for the nomination, Romney is now generally considered the presumptive nominee.

The survey indicates women voters back Obama over Romney by 16 points (55%-39%), virtually unchanged from an 18-point advantage among women for the president in CNN polling last month.

The poll was conducted two days after Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen created a controversy by saying that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."

"That remark may have little long-term effect on women voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By a two-to-one margin, the women surveyed saw President Obama as more in touch with the problems facing American women today."

Half of those questioned say that Obama is more likely to stand up for what he believes, with only 29% saying that about Romney. Nearly half say that Romney is more likely to change his position on the issues for political reasons, just 39% saying the same thing about the president. Obama has double-digit leads over Romney on likeability, honesty, confidence, values, leadership and almost every other characteristic tested, with one important exception.

"Obama and Romney are essentially tied on who is more likely to get the economy moving again, and that may provide Romney an opening to chip away at Obama's current overall lead," says Holland.

According to the poll, Obama holds a 48%-43% margin over Romney among crucial independent voters. The survey also indicates s generation gap, with all age groups, except those 65 and older, backing Obama. And the poll points to an income divide, with the president holding a 20-point lead over Romney among those earning less than $50,000 per year, while those making more than that figure divided between the two candidates.

Obama's likeability and strong performance on personal characteristics helps explain why three-quarters of his supporters questioned say their vote will be a vote for Obama, not a vote against his opponent. By contrast, more than six in ten Romney supporters say their choice will be mostly be a vote against Obama.

"That's a significantly higher level of anti-incumbent voting than polls found in previous years. In 2004, for example, 55% of Democratic nominee John Kerry's supporters said their choice of Kerry was really a vote against President George W. Bush. The question for 2012 is whether Romney has to provide his supporters with more reasons to vote for him in order to win, or whether a negative anti-Obama message is enough, given that historically high level of anti-incumbent voting," adds Holland.

Two-thirds say they have made up their minds, with just 29% saying they could change their minds between now and November. As for handicapping the election, right now Americans don't think Romney has a good chance of winning the White House. Only 35% said Romney will be victorious in November.

"That is certainly not a prediction of what will happen, of course, but it is worth noting that in the last four presidential elections, the public was able to correctly pick the winner in polls taken in the spring or early summer," adds Holland.

Even though Santorum is out of the race for the White House and Romney is the all but certain nominee, the battle for the GOP nomination technically continues. According to the survey, 57% of Republicans say that Romney is their choice for the GOP nominee, with 19% backing Gingrich and 18% supporting Paul.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International April 13-15, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 910 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Also see:

Obama re-election team increases fundraising haul

Buffett Rule would barely dent debt but fits nicely into Obama's theme

McCain: I agree with Ann Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (743 Responses)
  1. itylhive

    I'll take him over O'Bamby.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. JC

    Flipper... you want to talk money? You mean how Obama uses himself as an example of the Millionaires and Billionaires that don't need the tax break... but miracleously falls under the Million dollar mark... ? Hey the guy only "made 3/4 of a million on paper.... taking the legal deductions of course so he could decrease the amount he pays... and of course... that means he MUCH MORE like all of us...

    Also – just LOVE how you already have your bias set... RACISTS? HATE?? Apparently you have not strayed from the CNN SITE too much... with the love fest surrounding the Travon Martin situation. Al, Jessie, the Black Panther Leadership... have been following in the footsteps of MLK...

    Thank God for Freedom of Speech in this country – because in many other Countries throughout the world... your ignorance and stupidity would have had the secret police knocking at your door.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. angel611

    Romney looks special in the photo.
    As in Special Needs.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. tuffyturf

    Who is going to put their support behind someone who believes a guy high on acid wandering the desert 200 years ago spoke to god and found out that Jesus lived in America as did Indians who were then banished only to be allowed back to America with their skin dyed red.. Is this someone who you think you can count on? This in Romney, and that is the Mormon religion, of which he believes to be true.. That is scary scary stuff, Romney might also think that Stalin was a puppet and that Hitler was only a midget who was a Carny side show draw.. bottom line, Obama is your only choice if you are sane..

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Marvel

    It is curious that polled voters favor Obama for President....yet believe Mitt is better for the economy. These two positions don't jive.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Capitalists

    That just shows how out of touch some Americans are in this Country. I wouldn't vote for him if he was the only candidate.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. pgraham52

    Sure Rasmussen has Romney up by two points. More liberal bull crap. They want him to win so bad they will print anything.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. downriverdem

    There is nothing the repubs can do between now and November that will gain the trust of women. All they want to do is take us back to the 1950s and early 1960s. Romney comes across as condescending the way he talks about women. Women will vote for Obama in droves next November. We are not going back.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. itylhive

    Better Romney than the alternative.

    April 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. jheron

    This is no surprise. Romney's like/dislike numbers have actually flipped since January. It use to be 50 like/25 dislike...its 25 like/50 dislike. He may be a nice guy but he just lacks sincerity and personality on camera and he really is horrible at contradicting himself. I wouldn't believe a word he says.

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. QS

    Right now Mitt's only real hope is that the Supreme Court passes another genius piece of law like Citizens United that will simply allow Mitt to personally pay individuals to vote for him.

    Other voting blocs besides women that Mitt hasn't got a shot at = Black, Latino, Gay, Poor

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. tuffyturf

    Who is going to put their support behind someone who believes a guy high on acid wandering the desert 200 years ago spoke to god and found out that Jesus lived in America as did Indians who were then banished only to be allowed back to America with their skin dyed red.. Is this someone who you think you can count on? This in Romney, and that is the Mormon religion, of which he believes to be true..

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. 4 More Years!!!

    "it is worth noting that in the last four presidential elections, the public was able to correctly pick the winner in polls taken in the spring or early summer,"

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Kodes100

    Yahoo!
    President Obama 2012!

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. don

    Maybe when people get to know Mitt better.......Oh that's right.
    When people get to know him better he does worse.

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Merlin

    Which begs the question: Why is this poll so different from every other recent poll?

    April 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. bspurloc

    1015 people isnt a poll.... matters not mittens values wars over education, religious oppression of women etc etc etc

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    "Every poll but Fox News shows Obama with the lead. But that's just because every other media outlet in the United States is biased, and Fox News is the only one that isn't, Occam's Razor be damned." – Joe Brainwashed Right-Winger.

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. sean

    Sure the ladies like him because he can sing and because he looks good without a shirt.

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Tolga

    And in other news, sun still yellow. Seriously CNN, it's not news if it's something anyone could have told you with reasonable conviction. The filthy rich capitalist, who is by definition, opposed to minorities and women is less likable then the guy who wants you to be healthy and have a doctor if you need one? Shocking!

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. carynbella

    I am starting to feel led by the nose – an international poll on a national race -really?!?!?!?

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Terry

    No, actually, Romney appeals to everyone who has finally figured out that Obama has no economic plan besides "Steal From The Rich." [He had no plan to start with; but it just took people a long time to figure that out.] And, interestingly, the LA Times reports that the Gallup poll currently places Romney ahead. But you'll never hear that from the way-left-leaning CNN.

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I believe this poll as much as believe anything Obama says.....and for that matter CNN reports....NOT AT ALL.

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. wluv777

    As an Obama supporter, i don't put too much stock in these polls. I know the only poll that will count is on November 6, 2012. The rest of them is just conjecture

    April 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. rtbrno65

    It's way to early to put stock in any polls. Once we get past the conventions and the campaign really kicks off, I expect it will tighten up pretty good. I still think Obama's going to make Romney look like a jerk and get re-elected.

    April 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30