CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney
April 16th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 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. Bob

    Romney and his spoiled b!itch of a wife have no chance, except with the 30% dead ender Repuke voters who will believe ANYTHING Rush shoves up their butts.

    OBAMA 2012

    April 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. ThatsIt121

    Since when is a partisan poll 'Breaking News' CNN?

    April 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Rick Simm

    Keep dreaming CNN, keep dreaming. Obama is done in one.

    April 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. tdiamond

    The poll is misleading. They interviewed 1071 American citizens and asked them a variety of questions about women working and the election. The poll is scientific but not politically specific. They could have interviewed 1071 republicans, democrats or independents...or a mix of any. The margin of error was high to start and was higher depending on the question. It woul;d be better if CNN/ORC spent time and money to ask specified groups these same questions to get a better idea as to where the electorate is.

    April 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. ken

    CNN always over rate or poll democrats.This is a liberal media.Stupid poll.Romney leads Obama in the new Gallup poll thats what matters.CNN sooooo bias

    April 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. JT

    Gee, I wonder which candidate CNN is supporting? I bet if Romney had a nine point lead, that wouldn't be the top story. And this was a cnn poll. I wonder how the questions were posed?

    April 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Mittens Lies to Appease

    I know that Mittens is most likely going to get the GOP nomination, but if he does not get the backing of Ron Paul, and I really think there's no way that's going to happen, then there is absolutely zero chance for Mittens as I see it. I'll bet most RP supporters will write him in as their vote, though, whether or not he decides to support MR.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Steve1959

    Hey CNN, the pdf you posted for the poll results is incomplete. That being said, there's no demographic breakdown of the polling nor is there indication that you spoke with likely voters. It does say that you interviewed an additional 910 registered voters, but doesn't indicate if that was part of the original 1015 people that you originally polled. Bottom line, if you're going to do a poll, make it worthwhile.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Scott Killian

    OK, Whatever. What about Obama vs. Ron Paul? I think the GOP would have a winner there. By the way, Go to Hell CNN, Fox News, and all of the other mainstream media that does not give any time to Ron Paul.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Devosays

    Fox says Romney, CNN says Obama.... I think fox has double digit more viewers and I think Obama is toast, in fact we love this we are going to win spin, it means liberals won't get out in full force because they think they have already won

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Investment Advisor

    The Presidents policies are nothing but "smoke and mirrors" at the very best. Fraud at the very least. Smart, educated people are able to navigate the maze. Tells you a lot about this blog site.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. RetiredVet

    The "sheeple" have spoken. lets see if CNN posts this.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. czar33

    GOD BLESS YOU President OBAMA! You are a good man, doing your best considering the way Bush left our country all messed up. I stand by you 110% I burn a lucky candle for you and GOOD health to you and your family.
    On the other hand, GOD BLESS OUR PRESIDENT, MAY HE LIVE 100 YEARS!!

    I burn a evil candle for Romney and Sons. I truely wish and hope the ROT with Cancer! Come on Cancer God, strike Mitt Romney with a STAGE-4. They should be in jail or a work camp in Alaska.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. JSW

    Mitt Romney HIMSELF, not a GOP strategist aligned or non aligned with his campaign, said that POOR mothers have an obligation to WORK wether they want to or not in Jan 2012. This is GOPocrisy at it's worst.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. greg

    GOPers put out a circus act for their party's nomination and it made Obama look very good in comparison.

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. zicarias

    The above .pdf does not mention Romney or Obama... where is the poll being referred to?

    April 16, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Jules

    DJL – you are right – that lead will grow when people actually find out the reason Willard won't release his taxes even for the time he was running for president in 2008. I suspect it is because he didn't set his blind trust he is always talking about until recently and it was actually his doing to put his money in foreign banks to avoid paying taxes to the United States of America. How close am I Willard?

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Matt Houston

    Yes, guys...because lord knows Mitt Romney is so down to earth and middle class.

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Pollster

    Why this poll is so special that it deserves to be "Breaking News" 7 months prior to the election? Because it shows the President with a 9 point lead! I doubt that this would be reported as "Breaking News" if it were the other way around.

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Nate

    Other polls have Romney in the lead today. CNN couldn't possibly be in all-out liberal mode, could they?

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Mick

    The poll says: Fantastic, four more years of President Obama! Great. Oh wait, the all important Buffett Rule, what a joke! How much money will Barack bring in by pandering to people who think the rich should pay more? What about all of those who could be working but are relying on food stamps, and every other form of government welfare. I am sick of being middle-class, working my rear off, and seeing people stand in lines at the grocery story buying all kinds of things with their food stamps. So what if it is all restricted to food, they use theiir stamps to buy the food and then use cash to buy their cigarettes and booze. I'm sick of Obama pandering to the poor. The guy makes over $750,000 per year and you really think he understands my plight any better than Mitt Romney?

    Four more years of Obama and this country will be in a worse financial hole than Greece and we are sunk. Good luck folks.

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. cj

    Pick the corrupt pile of trash that stinks less...or vote 3rd party.

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. czar33

    GOD BLESS YOU President OBAMA! You are a good man, doing your best considering the way Bush left our country all messed up. I stand by you 110% I burn a lucky candle for you and GOOD health to you and your family.
    On the other hand, GOD BLESS OUR PRESIDENT, MAY HE LIVE 100 YEARS!!

    I burn a evil candle for Romney and Sons. I truely wish and hope they ROT with Cancer! Come on Cancer God, strike Mitt Romney with a STAGE-4. They should be in jail or a work camp in Alaska.
    y

    April 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. David

    Simple question: What is Romneys' Big Idea? To do What? I think it is just bashing the black guy. Obamas failures have nearly all been because of the GOP trying to block any successes. Does the GOP have any ideas except the same tired stuff they have been selling since 1980? America once had great expectations and ideas...interstate highways, Erie Canal (heck Panama Canal), NASA, going to the moon...now all we do if fight wars. Or at least that is all the GOP wants to spend money on, war.

    April 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. Brandy

    I'll vote for the President we have now. I have no trust for Romney and he can do al the wishey washey he wants to get votes, but he always changes his mind. I to went to Romneys website and found nothing that he can do for us. I checked mccains book again and everything Mccain said when he was running against Romney hasnt changed a bit, its the same ole same ole

    April 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 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