Tampa (CNN) - A new national survey illustrates the challenge Mitt Romney faces at the Republican convention as the GOP presidential challenger gets re-introduced to the American public.
While a CNN/ORC International poll indicates the race for the White House between Romney and President Barack Obama is in a dead heat among likely voters, new numbers from the survey released Sunday indicate that as of now, Obama's personal characteristics outshine those of Romney.
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According to the poll, 53% of likely voters say Obama cares about the needs of people, with 39% feeling the same way about the former Massachusetts governor. The president leads Romney in the poll by an equal margin when it comes to being in touch with the middle class. And six in ten say Obama is in touch with the problems facing women today, with just over three in ten feeling the same way about Romney.
Forty-nine percent say the president is honest and trustworthy, with 42% saying the same thing about Romney. The poll indicates likely voters are divided on which candidate has a more optimistic vision for the country's future, is a strong and decisive leader, shares your values, and inspires confidence. Romney has 48%-44% margin over Obama on managing the government effectively and a six point advantage on having a clean plan for solving the country's problems.
"When it comes to the personal qualities of the two major-party candidates, the choice seems to be between compassion and competence in the eyes of many Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The public gives Obama a big advantage over Romney on questions on caring about people and understanding their concerns. Romney's strong points appear to be his skills as a manager and having a clear plan to solve the country's problems."
"The challenge facing Romney at the GOP convention is to build on those managerial strengths while at the same trying to convince average Americans that he is in touch with their problems. Obama's personal characteristics, for the moment, outshine Romney's," adds Holland.
The survey also indicates that 43% say Obama doesn't change his mind for political reasons, with 39% saying the same thing about Romney.
Reacting to the poll, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, on CNN's "State of the Union," said at the convention "We have to tell the Mitt Romney story here. People are just getting to know Mitt Romney."
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Wednesday and Thursday (August 22-23), with 1,055 adult Americans, including 924 registered voters and 719 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5% points for likely voters.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.