Voters split between Obama and Romney on top three issues
May 21st, 2012
09:39 AM ET
6 years ago

Voters split between Obama and Romney on top three issues

(CNN) – A survey released Monday showed Americans split over which presidential contender would best handle the issues they consider the most pressing, saying President Barack Obama would best tackle health care costs while Republican Mitt Romney was better poised to slash the federal debt and deficit.

The poll, from Gallup, asked Americans to assess the importance of various economic issues. Of the ten-item list, 84% said the cost of health care was extremely or very important, the highest of any of the topics. Both unemployment and the federal debt were seen as extremely or very important by 82% of respondents.

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Asked which presidential candidate would better handle health care costs, 51% named Obama, compared to 44% who said Romney. On the federal debt and deficit, the advantage was Romney's: 54% said the former Massachusetts governor would best tackle the problem, compared to 39% who named Obama.

On unemployment, the two candidates were statistically tied. Forty-eight percent said Obama was the best candidate to handle unemployment, compared to 47% who named Romney.

Both candidates had big advantages on other economic issues. More Americans said Romney would better handle the performance of savings and retirement accounts, 53% to 39%. But when asked which candidate would better handle living standards for poor Americans, Obama had a 28-point advantage over Romney, 62% to 34%.

The Gallup poll was taken by phone from 1,012 adults between May 10 and May 13. The sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.

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Filed under: Economy • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Perhaps, but Obama's handling of the economy will push them to Romney. Obama's stimulus has not worked. His bailout of GM and Solyndra resulted in bankruptcy and layoffs. Unemployment is high and fuel prices are too.

    May 21, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  2. macrasta

    President Obama has done an excellent job... with the crises that Bush left us in ..when no one was watching the store for 8yrs + during the Bush presidency....when he lied to the country...sent us into 2 wars... gave tax cuts to his buddies without paying for any of it....and Bush was the welfare President..with more people on welfare during Bush 1 and Bush 2 run in the White house.. but facts elude some................Job well done, President Obama...

    May 21, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |

    But when asked which candidate would better handle living standards for poor Americans, Obama had a 28-point advantage over Romney, 62% to 34%.
    And this is the number that matters. We don't need an elitist in the White House who doesn't understand what it;s like for people at the bottom. It all boils down to who understands the needs of the middle class. And it most certainly is not 1% Mitt.

    May 21, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I can't see how people can think Romney is better for the country when he has five(5) adult sons who don't serve the country in uniform but wear their suits to campaign for their father. This family is more "self serving" than "Nation serving". Wakeup out there people.

    May 21, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. nagstrikes

    @macrasta So how long will the democrats keep blaming Bush for the current crisis and get away with it?...

    How can it be an excellent job from president, when we are stuck with 8.1% unemployement, 15 Tirllion in Debt and anemic GDP growth rate of 2%....

    May 21, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It is May 21st, still relatively far-out before more accurate and representative polls emerge, and then even those will not predict the outcome in November.
    We are under assault with a barrage of negative ads, negative spins, negative stories all of which can and will seep into our collective sub-conscious, if we allow it, leaving us drained, despondent, and desperate. I've opted to pace and save myself by limiting my exposure to "the lowest common denominator" that we tend to fall prey to, and that includes minimizing my visits to this site.
    Stay positive, stay informed, stay above the fray, and vote in November.
    Ultimately your vote is the ONLY poll that counts.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America

    May 21, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Marie MD

    SLASH is a word I would give to the sociorobully bishop hands down. He sure knows how to slash American jobs.
    This is how twisted polls are (and I have taken part of polls on the telephone). The flip flopper would be better handling savings and retirement accounts (the vulture capitalist) vs living standards go to the President.
    Am I the only one who sees this as a complete joke? If your 401k and Medicare and social security disappear thanks to the flip floppef and his wall street friends (think 2007-2008) what kind of living standards is the vanishing middle class and the poor going to have?

    May 21, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. Andre

    Dave, I don't know where you're from, but most of the people I talk to who are in the trenches say you don't know what you're talking about. People are going back to work in Arizona, a state hit especially hard when the economy tanked in terms of jobs and housing. For you to say that the stimulus and other economic policies (did you know there was a federal extension on unemployment? Probably not.) didn't have an effect on the struggling economy shows that you don't know what the lower-middle class feels (as the highest population of voters would be considered); it's either that or you are letting your personal bias get in the way of seeing the truth. Fuel prices ALWAYS do this; people were ready to bite GW's head off when the same thing happened but you forget that OPEC sets the prices, not the U.S. Unemployment is high in some places and lower in others, and there's always going to be a sweet spot of around 5% unemployment in a peak economy ANYWAYS for people transitioning in and out of the workforce and people moving to new locations. Let's not place blame based on prejudice (and I don't necessarily mean racial prejudice!) and ignorance of the facts (READ carefully, I didn't say you were ignorant!) or flat-out rhetoric from your favorite party.

    May 21, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Data Driven

    Wow, do Americans really think that Romney will be better for retirement savings? He's on record as supporting Ryan's economic plan, which is calling for safety-net cuts, and he serves a party that's on record for wanting to gradually privatize Social Security. Turn off "Dancing With The Stars" and turn on the news, folks.

    May 21, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. nyron8160

    It a.ll come to this the bottom line mitt for greedy obama for the needy myron8160 obama biden 2012 that my choice who yours

    May 21, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. kakaraka

    Romney is very good at making profits while laiding off employees and cutting their wages and health care as a CEO. But the government should not be managed like a corporation. People should be the focus and not profits.

    May 21, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. king

    Hey Obama has done an excellent job of creating success for the so called job creators, but the job creators remitted on their side of the bargain and not create jobs for Americans, they've gotten away with this, by using the repubs to block any sort of pressure that this president put on these guys the Use the the trillions on the sidelines to help Americans, but the repubs called that class warfare.

    May 21, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Jake in Omaha

    Romney is going to make a great president. look at all the worthless social programs that he will end on day one.

    Social Security, Medicare, SSI, Medicaid, Meals on Wheels and veteran benefits. I know this senior is looking forward to living in the gutter while our Mormon president hides his income from taxes by putting most of his income in offshore

    May 21, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. kakaraka

    Dave, Obama wasn't involved in the day to day management of the bankrupt companies you mentioned such as Solyndra. The government just lend money to keep the company and others receiving the stimulus loans afloat. This is a loan unlike Romney who buy companies at Bain Capital, manage them, laid off employees and bankrupt the companies. I don't think you an understanding of a bailout meaning government loans.

    May 21, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. NOvember 2012

    this piece is a joke right? We ALREADY KNOW obama can't do the obvious choice is to pick a more experienced man who we can trust and we really know where he came from and actually has some resume'...and write off the bad obama choice...end of the story folks!

    May 21, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Big George in Big D

    @dominicanmamma4obama. Some people never learn.

    May 21, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Darryl

    They should leave it up to P.Obama. Things are going fine and I don't trust Mitt Romney because he is out for Wallstreet and big Oil Companys and the Big banks. the middle class will end up the loosers and the wealthy people will just get wealthier.We need the changes P.Obama is makeing for the better of the country as a whole. I hope to god the Republican Party doesn't get ahold of this country, because they will cause allot of damage to our economy and creat more problems as far as another war.We just don't need the republicans creating austerity for us and throwing us into another war for NO good reason like they have. Look at the mess they put us into already.Pres.Obama is cleaning that up now and it's goping to take allot more work just like he says.Lets take this country forward like the POTUS says and keep thoese republicans out of the W/H or we will be in a whole lot of trouble.

    May 21, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Skeptic

    Sorry polls are useless. I got called for political polls, but I work and take care of my family. I don't have the time or energy to answer some silly survey. They only get polarized people to take these polls.

    May 21, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Republican Latino (Salvadorian) voting for Romney

    Liberal Democrats will never vote for Romney. Its sad. If Obama was found guilty of taking money from the Government, they will still vote for him. Democrats have been brainwashed and they can't see the truth, well, won't accept it.

    May 21, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. yobi

    Democrats and liberals, I don't really care how you feel about Romney but he has proven it to everybody that he is a job creator China

    May 21, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. Kris

    @ Data Driven

    Social Security is not a retirement savings account. It is a handout from the federal government. A real retirement savings account would expect you to actually sacrifice now (save) in order to have it grow (invest) for the future. Most americans have never learned this principle and are suffering when they are in their 60's, 70's. I live in a community where the service industry is littered w/ people who should be sitting back in a hammock drinking cool drinks all day. They were irresponsible as younger adults and are now paying the penalty. SS is not enough to save them from this fault. Thus it should not be relied upon to provide the primary means for retirement income. BTW I am 27, only gross 70,000 combined w/ my wife and am still able to max my matching contribution w/ my employer (401k), max my 5000 limit on my roth ira, pay my mortgage and my bills, and provide for the needs of my wife and kids.
    On that note people need to stop lumping in Lower class w/ middle class. Although in todays economy many middle class workers are finding themselves classified in the lower class because of unemployment I assure you they are not the same. The main difference I would say is not even financial. It is cultural. I am all for donating to programs that empower the underemployed, and needy. However it drives me crazy that I sacrifice to save my money/live within my means just to have my tax dollars go to someone who is fully capable to do the same yet is too lazy to do so.

    May 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    It is amazing to me of how people think the Government should collect money and hand it out all over the place. The Constutition never gave the Congress the Power to collect an disburse money except in a few instances. The nearly 16 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt didn't happen on Bush's Watch. It has bee growing for over 75 years because of Big Social Programs that aren't paid for espacially the so called poor. Obama has done everthing backwards. Obama Care is killing Jobs because business dosen't know what the have to deal with down the road so they are cautious in hiring. With a weak/non existant economy there will be no money to pay for social programs. You can only tap the well so many times, and then it is dry. Look at Greece. Look at California. It will soon be on your door.

    May 21, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. ALPHA

    Obama's attack on Romneys Bain Capital record is a farce.

    Romney went in and tried to help bail out failing companies with private funds, with private investors willing to take the risks involved.

    Obama went in and tried to help bail out failing companies....GM, Solindra....with taxpayer dollars. With your money my money and our kids money. FYI, GM still ows the taxpayers 20 Billion.

    Their motives were identical, their funding was not.

    May 21, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. The REAL Truth...

    @Dave – Perhaps, but Obama's handling of the economy will push them to Romney. Obama's stimulus has not worked. His bailout of GM and Solyndra resulted in bankruptcy and layoffs. Unemployment is high and fuel prices are too.
    Unemployment isn't that high in some areas!! Front page of my sun newspaper stated down to 6.3% locally... so it ain't all as bad the teatards make out.

    May 21, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are a few things that need to be said. The first is that Romney (or the media) needs to come up with a list of those companies that were taken over by Bain capital during his time there. Without that list, all mentions of Bain are nice little stories of what kind of work and what didn't. We need a full picture. Obama did what he thought could be done when it came to getting things done that required Congress. If he didn't need Congress, I suspect that more would have been done to spur the economy.

    If the Republicans had bothered to pay for the wars (one needed [Afghanistan] and the other of choice [Iraq]) and not spend so much during their time in control, then there would be less of a problem. We'd still have a problem because there are those on the right that refuse to see anything but their side as the way to go. The reason why no one is to see legislation made is because of the compromises that are needed. The austerity teapublicans don't understand that compromise is the needed element in Washington which has been shrinking because of blowhards on either side.

    May 21, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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