Poll: Obama, Romney in tight race over economic issues
May 25th, 2012
08:33 AM ET
3 years ago

Poll: Obama, Romney in tight race over economic issues

(CNN) - While Mitt Romney has a big lead over President Barack Obama among white voters with financial struggles, the president fares better on economic issues among voters overall, according to a new national poll released Friday.

The Washington Post/ABC News survey indicates that middle class white voters who say they face economic hardship prefer Romney over Obama by a wide margin, 58% to 32%.

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When taking into account, however, a larger sample of all registered voters, Obama's standing dramatically improves. Forty-six percent said they think the president would do more to advance the economic interests of voters and their families, while 44% said the same about Romney. The margin falls well within the sampling error.

Breaking the poll down further, voters appear to perceive Romney as more favorable to the rich than Obama. Asked which candidate would do more to advance the economic interests of the wealthy, a whopping 68% chose Romney versus 21% for Obama.

More voters, however, expect Romney would do a better job for small businesses than the president, 48%-44%.

The issue of handling the economy was at the forefront of political dialogue this week, as Obama's campaign hammered Romney over his time as a private equity CEO, saying his corporate resume did not qualify Romney for the White House.

"When you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot," the president said Monday during a press conference at the NATO summit in Chicago.

While some on the left and the right criticized Obama's team for going after Romney's business experience, the president argued that attacks were fair game since Romney uses his private sector experience as a main selling point on the campaign trail.

Hitting back, Romney's campaign has accused the president of attacking "the free enterprise system" and using the argument as a distraction from what they call his "failed economic policies."

"President Obama refuses to accept moral responsibility for his failed policies. My campaign is offering a positive agenda to help America get back to work," Romney said in a statement earlier this week.

For the poll, Washington Post-ABC News surveyed 1,004 adults nationwide by telephone between May 17 and 20, with sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Obama campaign expands Bain attack and general election ad buys

Poll: Romney takes lead in Florida

Palin endorses Utah's Hatch in Senate race

Arkansas, Kentucky primaries pose challenge for Obama


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Pres. Obama has to find that tight rope that defines Mitt Romney's callling card for what it is, a lie. Mitt Romney has convinced people that profits equal job creation. If that is the case, then why has Mitt Romney shipped his profits to off-shore bank accounts.

    May 25, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    too bad for Mittens that "white middle class" voters are not the majority. If Obama is so bad on the economy, you'd think Flippy would be beating him badly with all demographics......guess not. So much for the right wing economic pitch. Maybe they should go backand start up their red-meat, knuckle-dragger social wedge issues. That's always good for some amusing sound bites

    May 25, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. Sydnium S. Washington

    Looks like Romney 'leads' this poll. Quite high margin except, but not limited to, "Forty-six percent said they think the president would do more to advance the economic interests of voters and their families, while 44% said the same about Romney. The margin falls well within the sampling error."

    May 25, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. Ancient Texan

    Obama is attacking Romney's business experience.....and an 11 year old girl that has run a lemonade stand for one day has a better knowledge of business than Obama has acculated in 3 1/2 years of on the job training...

    May 25, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Not everybody is middle class white voters in America!

    We need a president who is not just gonna cater to the previledged few or the rich and their Wall Street fat cats, but a president who is going to take care of ALL AMERICANS!!!!

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney is for the RICH and Wall Street VULTURE CAPITALISTS....he is unpatriotic by shipping American JOBS to China & Mexico and stashing his TAX-CUTS wealth in SWISS BANK Acoounts and the CAYMEN ISLAND!!!!

    May 25, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. ST

    Folks, the big test is soon coming, come November. If things are showing the sign of improvement, why change and go to something you are not sure it will work or not. We never change commanders at the middle of the war. It has been a tough fight and struggle since the economy fell apart in 2008.

    May 25, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. Anonymous

    "President Obama refuses to accept moral responsibility for his failed policies. My campaign is offering a positive agenda to help America get back to work," Romney said in a statement earlier this week."

    At this point in his campaign, Mr. Romney would do well to drop the "moral" argument. There is nothing moral about Mitt Romney and quite frankly this pious act of his is repugnant. I've no doubt that his effort to portray himself as a moral authority is exactly why he comes across so stiff. It's just too hard for him to keep up for any length of time.

    Not that it matters, but this entire poll is bogus.

    May 25, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. Myviewis

    Wait a minute, does the article say Middle Class white voters facing economic hardship prefer Romney?? Really?? Middle class having economic hardship??? I thought Democrats said the country was doing great economically?? So if Middle Class is having economic hardship then the lower class must be doing really bad and keeping silent which means the economy is not as great as Democrats claim.

    May 25, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. Larry in Houston

    I suspect the polls will change dramatically – after labor day rolls around. I suspect the Polls for Romney will probably be between 8 to 10 points ahead of Obama. Not Just economic Issues, I'm talking about Issues in general. Bottom Line is this : If Obama doesn't get those voters that is between the ages of 18 to 30 to "move" & get off their duffs – Obama is SUNK !! It's all going to boil down to : either we get a Democrat in, for the next 4 yrs, or we get a Moderate in, for the next 4 years.

    May 25, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  10. Myviewis

    Of course Romney would do a better job for small businesses than Obama. Romney is a buisness owner, businessman, has been an employee in the real world and Obama knows nothing about business. Obama's never been a business owner, never ran a business, has never worked, been an employee of a business. Obama has never worked in the real world. And on top of that, let's be honest, Obama is anti-private equity, anti-business. What does Obama's Resume show for job experience: Community Organizer, Author, Lawyer and Professor. Must be nice to have worked for a law firm and a university where not much happens of the real world.

    May 25, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Candy Taylor

    How for the love of God can White people with financial problems support Romney? He is wanting to balance the budget on their backs while making the wealth contribute less and less. Increase class sizes, cut education, remove worker protection, cut medicare, cut social security, break unions. Really? What do these people see as a benefit to a Romney presidency? Are we really that racist that ANY white man is better than a black man in the white house. God help our country!

    May 25, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  12. Wake up people

    Why don't people realize the President could do so much more if not for the republican obstruction. How can you reward a party for not doing their jobs? Of course Robmey is up with white voters, so many are afraid of a black POTUS. Damn shame.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 25, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. Elizabeth

    Good thing middle class white voters are not the only ones voting this year.

    May 25, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans first order of business when they took over the House was to continue the "BUSH ERA TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH" and they've done nothing for the Middle Class white voters. You'd have to suffer from amnesia not to remember that these Republicans during the Bush era put Middle Class white people in the State of Ohio in the soup lines after they lost their jobs, pensions and retirement and Romney will do it again. You better understand Republicans have signed a contract and signed onto Paul Ryan's budget.

    May 25, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Steve- Illinois

    Obama administration signed a $17 million pr contract promoting the Affordable Care Act, just weeks before the supreme court will rule on it. The campaign comes before what's best for tax dollars since if the court rules against the act, this money is wasted, and most likely not recoverable. Funny thing about contracts, private companies read them before signing!

    May 25, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  16. Four and The Door

    The issue of handling the economy was at the forefront of political dialogue this week, as Obama's campaign hammered Romney over his time as a private equity CEO, saying his corporate resume did not qualify Romney for the White House.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    This is precious. Obama throwing stones about being Qualified for the White House. His own total lack of qualifications have cost us plenty as a nation. But what's done is done and we just pick ourselves up and move forward. And do better. With someone who knows how to manage government, knows Economics and brings strong values as well.

    Romney 2012

    May 25, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. once upon a horse

    what I find amusing is that how the Republicans are now all going after Obama because of his attack on Bain when it was actually Republicans that STARTED the attack themselves. I guess they really think Americans have short memories, and perhaps some on the right do. Appears to be that old adage "I can call my sister ugly but YOU CAN'T!" The terms "vulture capitalist" and the mini-movie "When Mitt Romney came to town" were not products of the Obama campaign.

    May 25, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. American

    An economy for middle-class Americans.

    President Obama 2012

    May 25, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  19. Romney, Ryan, Rubio, Recession

    Americans are beginning to see beyond Rmoney's rhetoric.

    May 25, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |