Poll: Ugly campaign polarizing candidates' favorability
July 24th, 2012
09:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Ugly campaign polarizing candidates' favorability

Washington (CNN) - A new poll released Tuesday indicates that as the 2012 presidential race has grown uglier, the favorability ratings of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have decreased.

In the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 32% of respondents said their view of Obama was “very negative,” a number that is up six points since the same question was asked in April.

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Romney suffered an equally large hit, with 24% of respondents indicating they had a “very negative” view of the former Massachusetts governor. Eighteen percent had the same response in April.

But the poll also indicates a polarization on both sides of the favorability spectrum, with more responding that they have a “very positive” view of both Romney and Obama.

Thirty-three percent of respondents indicated that they have a positive view of the president, while 13% had the same feelings about Romney. Both numbers are up three percent since April.

READ MORE: Poll: Majority of voters know enough about candidates

Also notable, 43% said they hold a less favorable opinion about Romney based on what they've heard about him in the last couple of weeks, compared to 28% who hold a more favorable view.

Similarly, 44% said they hold a less favorable opinion of Obama based on the information they gained from the campaign in recent weeks, compared to 27% who now see Obama in a more favorable light.

These numbers follow a heightened level of negative campaigning over the last few weeks. In what has seemed like a constant stream of negativity, each campaign, with help from their respective national committees, has used both television and web ads to question each candidate's ability to be president.

One recent example of the negative back-and-forth: television and web ads are now being run featuring charges of campaign cronyism.

READ MORE: Poll: Most Americans 'frustrated' with 2012 race

In a spot by the Republican National Committee last week, Republicans hit Obama for dirty politics – charging that the president is offering government subsidies to companies owned by campaign supporters.

The presumptive Republican nominee also got in on the cronyism charges.

“It is a tough time for America. If you are a campaign contributor to Obama, you stand to get millions in cash from the government. I think it's wrong,” Romney said in an interview with Fox News. “I think it stinks to high heaven and I think the administration has to explain how it is they would consider giving money to campaign contributors' businesses.”

In light of the negative ads, CNN’s most recent Poll of Polls finds the presidential race is in a dead heat. The poll shows that 47% of registered voters say they'd vote for Obama if the November election were held today, with 43% saying they'd cast a ballot for Romney.

This is slightly different than horserace numbers in the recent NBC/WSJ poll, which reports that Obama holds an advantage over Romney by six percentage point – 49% to 43%- among registered voters.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted of 1,000 registered voters (including 300 by cell phone) from July 18-22, and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Myviewis

    This note "44% said they hold a less favorable opinion of Obama based on the information they gained from the campaign in recent weeks" is the most interesting to me. Why did these people just now gain information on Obama in recent weeks when everyone claims to know everything there is about Obama? What info did they not know before which caused them a less favorable opinion of Obama? Had these voters known this info of Obama in 2008 would they still have voted for Obama? Interesting survey. Was it they found out he had no work experience in the real world, he was a part-time lecturer, 4 years practicing junior lawyer, a community organizer organizing people to protest or that his Law license expired in 2002 and he didn't renew it or that he never took any academics in economics, finance, public office economics, public office finance, accounting, statistics, urban development, administration, financial management, strategic management, political and economic development, international trade & finance?

    July 24, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. Larry L

    When I see Romney I see the tall, filthy rich, spoiled preppy holding that young man down at prep school and forceably cutting his hair. We can pretend to change but our core values remain.

    July 24, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If there would be more positive ad showing what each plan on doing, this might be a bit better.

    July 24, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Romney is the bully , Obama is not.

    July 24, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. Donkey Party

    The facts are simple. Romney lies about the President's first term, the President states facts about Romney's time at Bain and as Governor. Unless you make well over a million dollars, Romney has absolutely nothing to offer you, but a darker retirement future and higher taxes. Those are the facts.

    July 24, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  6. snow

    The nbc poll what a joke. The true story is that obama's favorability is trending down, now at 36 percent. This is even with the lame brained media doing everything they can to prop him up including not reporting on things that they would have hung a Republican for.

    July 24, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  7. 2020

    Negative ad reminds what is at stake.

    Do we want a thorough executive who let everyone has their say, take full responsiblity weighing all the facts, pros and cons, make decisive call with his own intellegence. That is a stand tall president.

    That person is NOT Romney.

    July 24, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    You repeat as a reason for poll results what fact check .org gave Romney 4 pinoccho's for ie the cronyism charges of his administration. this is precisely what gets media mistrusted or a better way to say is" a misuse of your journalistic integrity" where you parade something out AFTER repeat AFTER it has been dismissed as totally inaccurate by fellow journalists.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    July 25, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  9. Maude

    The author of this article knows full well that President Obama will win the election if he maintains his very effective campaign against this evil cooperate hack Romeny. Full steam ahead for the Obama train.

    July 25, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. enuff

    It's been negative since last summer with the primaries. What's the common denominator in both seasons? Hmmmm. Can you say Romney?

    July 25, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Anyone who likes the bully bishop is just as sick and twisted as he is.
    This guy can't do anything without his puppeteers telling him what to do.

    July 25, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  12. Sue

    As many have stated when examining the information for this poll......If you look closely at the information regarding "who" they polled, you will see that they polled more Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents. That is the ONLY reason that this poll shows Obama ahead by 6 points. However, just like when Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, Scott Walker easily survived the recall attempt, and the shellacking that Obama and the liberals got in 2010......We will see the results of the "real" polls as the election gets closer, and definitely in November–when Obama is sent back to Chicago.

    July 25, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  13. mm

    Their policies are 180-degrees apart, especially where the middle class is concerned.

    Make your voting decision based on policy.

    July 25, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |