CNN Poll: Obama up six points over Romney
September 10th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama up six points over Romney

(CNN) – A new survey indicates President Barack Obama moved up four points following the Democratic National Convention last week, and now has a six point advantage over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll (PDF) released Monday, 52% of likely voters nationwide back the president, compared to 46% for Romney. Just before the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama was tied with Romney 48%-48%.

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"The Democratic convention was fairly well received, particularly in comparison to the GOP meeting the previous week in Tampa," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

The convention energized–at least temporarily– the Democratic base, as more Democrats (59%) than Republicans (57%) seemed to be enthusiastic about voting. This marks a turnaround from last week, when the number of Republicans who said they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting was six points higher than for Democrats.

While the survey shows several changes coming out of the last two weeks, it's important to note that post-convention bounces have often proven to be temporary in past elections. A candidate may get a mild boost after a party gathering, but the question is whether the White House hopeful can sustain the momentum in the following weeks.

"The advantage of going second is you get the last word," an Obama campaign official told CNN reporters covering the Charlotte convention last week.

In fact convention bounces have become increasingly modest in the 21st century, so much so that Obama's four-point boost is considered high compared to other candidates in the last eight years. Romney's support increased only one point after this year's GOP convention, and Sen. John McCain gained no ground at all after the 2008 Republican event.

This year's Democratic event wiped away some of Romney's gains on personal qualities. The Republican nominee's favorable rating increased to 53% after the GOP convention, but fell to 48% one week later after the Democratic event. Meanwhile, Obama rose to 57% in the last week, his highest mark since 2010.

Obama also took away Romney's lead on leadership for the country's future. Now 51% of likely voters think Obama has a more optimistic vision for the country's future, compared to Romney at 41%. Last week, however, 43% said Obama was more optimistic, while 47% said the same about Romney.

Another takeaway from the two conventions was that Obama seemed to come out as the candidate with a more specific plan to help the country. Before the Republican event, 45% thought Romney was more likely to have a clear plan, while only 39% felt the same about the president. Now the two have switched places, with 45% saying Obama has a clear plan, compared 39% saying the same about Romney.

Indeed, the two events stood in contrast in terms of messaging. The Republican convention, including Romney's speech on the final night, was highly critical of Obama, and speakers repeatedly warned of another four years under his leadership.

"You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him," Romney said in one of the most pivotal moments of his speech.

Meanwhile, the Democratic convention sought to bolster Obama's work over the last three and a half years, particularly highlighting his role in the auto bailout largely credited with saving the auto industry and his signing-off on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Those two factors may also explain another interesting shift. After the Democratic convention, Obama picked up more support among men, while he maintained his already high support among women. Not surprisingly, the Democratic convention also helped drive up Obama's numbers among young and urban voters, two major factions of the Democratic base.

Responding to recent poll numbers, Romney's pollster Neil Newhouse warned against getting "too worked up about the latest polling."

"While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly. The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama Presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race," Newhouse said in a memo released by the campaign.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also responded to recent polls Monday.

"We have always believed that this will be a very close race and that continues to be the president's belief as well as the belief of those around him," Carney said in the White House daily press briefing.

For the CNN poll, ORC International interviewed 1,022 adult Americans by telephone from September 7-9. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The sample also includes 875 interviews among registered voters (plus or minus 3.5 percentage points) and 709 interviews among likely voters.

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

soundoff (347 Responses)
  1. Delguy

    The fact of the matter is that if Obama is up even 2 points nationally, he will be up MORE THAN THAT in the swing states. Picking Ryan was a truly stupid choice to appease the teabaggers who were going to vote Romney anyway.

    September 10, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Strikeforce

    Meh these Polls mean nothing today Obama is in the lead tomorrow he is not. Ask me again in Nov.

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Maltheus

    A good 20-40% of the Ron Paulers would have voted for Romney, before all of the fraud and dirty tactics at the convention. We may have not had enough to get our own guy nominated, but we sure have enough of the party to sink you Mitt. Enjoy!

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Paul

    Republican tears taste sooooo good!!

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. jeanni

    This is because the Repubs are the party of Senile people that talk to empty chairs and Dems are the party of intellectuals! it was very apparent during both Conventions. The tea party is destroying America and the Republican party. Ronald Reagan must be rolling in his grave!

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. insight iowa

    The Convention woke people up... Next stop... The Debates. President Obama needs to have his plans to bring America out of this mess, be honest, hard, and show his great leadership because Romney won't go down easy. He's been preparing himself you can tell. Joe needs to bring it too. Voting straight Dem ticket in Nov.

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. ChicagoMike

    Just wait until the debates. Obama/Biden don't have much of a defense when the state of the economy comes into play.

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. John H ATL

    I take issue with the statement that John McCain "gained no ground at all" from the 2008 GOP convention. I recall that he got about a 6% bounce from that convention. That should be pretty easy to verify for CNN. As I recall, it was a substantial boost and mostly attributed to the vigor brought to the convention by the then very popular Sarah Palin, This only makes the 2012 GOP convention seem more deficient in retrospect.

    September 10, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. incredulous

    Romney spent his weekend flip flopping on health care (again) and ranting about keeping the word "God" on currency (no one has threatened to take it off). Voters don't seem to find flip flopping and ranting very appealing. Go figure.

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Republican who supports President Obama

    Willard and team are practicing their bobbing and weaving techniques. I see more flip-flopping as he tries to shift to the center.

    In the meantime our President has remained consistent on his message and accomplishments. If only the GOP has worked in good faith they may have a leg to stand on to persuade people but their "I am better than this guy" approach is not a sufficient selling point.

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. WakeUpPlze

    LOL. I love these polls. They poll like 3,000 people and this is supposed to represent enough people that this is actual news? Keep believing this trash...liberal CNN. Run by the elites of America

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. bam

    Typical gop dribble... when FACTS r against them they declare FACTS are meaningless.
    go ask Clinton about this poll

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Anon 2012

    It's over. There is nothing left to see here. There is no way to spin this other than that the RNC was a failure and the DNC meeting was an overwhelming success.

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. BLKMANinAmerica

    GREAT news, good to hear a majority of American's are just NOT buying the repuks LIES. America, lets move FORWARD.

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. tkret

    I don't care about polls. They are usually tainted either by the way questions are worded, the number of certain demographics questioned relative to other demographics, and the geographical location of the poll. Also, it is not known how many people lie on their responses. I understand, that is part of the +/- 3% to 4 1/2% error margin; and I don't care if they come from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, PPP, or any other data gather organization.

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. the schooler

    and this is just the begining of the landslide by which the president is going to win this november ... next the debates im gonna laugh at romney and his dumb face, can't wait.

    September 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    Being disappointed with Obama,THE Romney Message, is part of life. It's a sign of maturity when voters can accept the difficulty trying to Govern a Nation of 300 Million, & decide that Obama is our best choice. OR, we can all stomp on the floor & throw tantrums & demand our way like the Tea Party Crowd

    September 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Jordan Graham

    Polls in whole are pretty useless waste of time, effort and money. The past presidential election showed Obama and McCain were very close. When it came down to it, Obama won it out 365 to 173 electoral votes.

    September 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Lower taxes!

    I can create jobs this time... Really, I've got a lot of cash just sitting around waiting for JUST a little bit more (from the tax break you give me). Then, I promise, I'll create some jobs. Can I just make a quick contribution to a PAC for the GOP? Then, after that baby it is just you and me creatin' jobs. It's gonna be great.

    September 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. MTB

    I don't buy it. What is the breakdown of Dems, Republicans, and Independents within the sample? Most of these polls over-sample democrats by several percentage points.

    September 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. nolimits3333

    To quote Joseph Conrad....Mistah Romney, he dead.

    September 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. beevee

    I am glad the voters are wise enough to see through the political chameleon Romney and his lying vice-presidential nominee Pinochio Paul. Electing Romney means demise of the middle class and the poor of this country in spite of what these two flip-floppers lie to the voters.

    September 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Captain Obvious

    With any luck, Democrats will win back Congress too so our country can actually get something done.

    September 10, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Dee

    that's right Mr. President! LETS GO!

    September 10, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. JOE

    Romney/Ryan 2012. BELIEVE IT!!!

    September 10, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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