CNN Poll: Obama tied with Romney & Paul in November showdowns
January 16th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama tied with Romney & Paul in November showdowns

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney is all tied up with President Barack Obama in a likely general election matchup, with the president showing signs of weakness on the economy and Romney seen as out of touch with ordinary Americans, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday also indicates that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is also even with Obama in another possible showdown this November. The survey also suggests the Republican advantage on voter enthusiasm is eroding, which could be crucial in a close contest.

See full results (pdf)

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According to the survey, if the November election were held today and Romney were the Republican presidential nominee, 48% say they'd vote for the former Massachusetts governor, with 47% supporting the president. Romney's one point margin is well within the poll's sampling error.

The poll also indicates Paul statistically tied with Obama, with the president at 48% and the longtime congressman at 46%. But according to the poll, the president is doing better against two other Republican presidential candidates. If Rick Santorum were the GOP nominee, Obama would hold a 51%-45% advantage over the former senator from Pennsylvania. And if Newt Gingrich faced off against the president, Obama would lead the former House speaker 52%-43%.

Enthusiasm in voting in the presidential election this November now stands at 54% among registered Republicans, down ten points from last October. Meanwhile, enthusiasm among registered Democrats has risen six points, and now stands at 49%.

"In a race that tight, turnout is likely to determine the outcome, and the Democrats have begun to close the 'enthusiasm gap' that damaged their prospects so badly in the 2010 midterms," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

While the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee have all of the GOP White House hopefuls in their sights, they are directing most of their firepower towards Romney, and the poll indicates why that is the case.

According to the survey, both men are seen as strong leaders, and both are viewed as having the personal qualities that a president should have. Forty-eight percent of Americans say that Obama agrees with them on the issues they care about - not great, but better than the 43% who feel that way about Romney.

"But on the economy - issue number one to most Americans - Romney has a clear advantage. 53% say the former Massachusetts governor can get the economy moving; only 40% say that about President Barack Obama," says Holland. "But the numbers are reversed when voters are asked whether the candidates are in touch with ordinary Americans. Fifty-three percent say that Obama is in touch; only four in ten feel that way about Romney."

Obama and Romney are virtually tied on whether they are seen as strong and decisive leaders. The survey indicates that by a 61%-34% margin, Americans say Romney changes his position on the issues for political reasons. By a 56%-42% margin, the public feels the same way about the president.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from January 11-12, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 928 registered voters, conducted by telephone on January 11-12, 2012. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Paul scores sought after endorsement in South Carolina

DeMint: I will not endorse

Romney nabs Florida endorsement

FIRST ON CNN: Huntsman to drop out

Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Polls
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. BeverlyNC

    This is because we have been bombarded by all Republican candidate news ad nauseum for the past six months.

    They have been telling outright lies about President Obama with no one there to give the actual facts. When whichever of the unqualified Republicans get chosen and has to actually face President Obama – they will look like the fools they are and these poll numbers wlll change drastically. President Obama is the only real leader we have, the only one who actually works for ALL Amercans, has never stopped delivering solutions for jobs and economic recovery that Republicans immediately obstruct and criticize while offering NOTHING in Congress to restore what they destroyed.

    It will be a landsidle for President Obama when he gets equal campaign time. I certainlywill still be standing with President Obama because he stands up for the People and is the only one with real character and values.

    January 16, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Not All Docs Play Golf

    For God's sake it's January !!! Over the last several months these guys have been blasting Obama on TV, and once Obama starts blasting back (once he has a single GOP candidate to target), things will change as we roll on towrd November. I can't wait to participate in blasting the GOP candidate myself.

    January 16, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ VA Very Ex Republican
    I feel you my friend. I often feel the same way.

    January 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. pjchooch

    News flash: Polls show Herman Cain in the lead for the nomination... oh, wait, that was a different COMPLETELY USELESS EARLY POLL!

    January 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Besides being a ridiculously small sample size, the poll was conducted by phone. That means that it was basically a sample set of retirees and stay-at-home parents, and due to trends away from the use of landlines, probably skewed towards older people who rely on cell phones as much. Not exactly a representative sample set.

    January 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. joeazona

    FINALLY!!! Dr Paul gets some press. Its about time!!!

    January 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Travis

    Liska: We are a stupid, stupid nation.

    Agreed. Any nation that continues to elect these morons (Obama, Bush, Clinton, HW Bush...) deserves to lose its superpower status. Our representatives have been selling us out since the early 70s (when Nixon first started opening the China floodgate) and NOBODY has been "For The People" here in the US ever since.

    Unfortunately, the skills it takes to run a country is completely different than what it takes to win an election.

    January 16, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Nick

    I'm definitely voting for the Republican Nominee, no matter who it is. Obama has done nothing for this country but raised the debt.

    January 16, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Jake

    The phone rings at 3 AM in the White House. President Romney answers the phone and the conversation goes like this: Mr. President, the North Korea is invading South Korea with thousands of troops, how should we respond? President Romney...well, let me they have money? No, Mr. President this isn't about money. I see, do you want to bet 10K that they will go away? No, Mr. President, I actually don't have 10K to bet, nor do I think this is a betting situation. I see, do you think maybe if we broke up Samsung or Hyundai and outsource the best parts to them, they will be happy and go away? No, Mr. President, they really don't want parts of company outsourced to them, they want the whole country, Samsung, Hyundai, lock, stock, and barrel. Well, that's because they just envy those guys if you ask me. Mr. President I don't know about the envy part, we need to take some action now. I see, well let's fire everyone in South Korea and outsource South Korea to North Korea. Mr. President, you can't outsource a whole country, you can't do what you did at Bain Ventures with South Korea. Well, what if we blame the Democrats for this and let the chips fall where they fall in South China. Mr. President, it's not South China, it's South Korea and we need to act fast here. Well, do you think Newt or Huntsman know what would be the thing to do, don't want to ask Santorum, he's busy on some anti abortion crusade and Paul is doesn't know better. I mean, it doesn't hurt to ask them would it? Mr. President, may I suggest you call Obama and ask him, he made the calls on the pirate hijackings, taking out Osama, things like that. What?...Obama did that? Wow, I must have missed all that with my perpetually running for President, didn't even stuff like that happened. OK, get me Obama. Mr. President, Obama is on the phone for you. Hey, Obama help me out here, what should I do here? CLICK. Hello, Obama, Obama...hello...Gee, nobody's on the phone, I'll call Chaney. Hey Chaney, it's me President Romney, I got this little problem here...Chaney: You call me at 4AM for something that you knew at 3AM? OK, this is what you do...launch an all out nuclear attack on Iran, then one on North Korea, that way you'll kill two countries at one time. Don't worry about the bad press, they are nothing but whimps. Just do what I say...and you can also let a few go down on China by accident of course, and this will set them back a few hundred years. Don't worry, before I left I set up a missle defense system in space to take any missles fired against us. to go and go hunting with my friend. Just do what I said. Thanks Mr. Vice President doing it right now. Wow, that VP Chaney is some smart dude. 5 minutes later...Mr. President, NORAD is reporting incoming ICBMs being launched from China. Not to worry, we have that space shield missle defense system to take them out, right?
    No, Mr. President we don't anything like that, there's no space system. Good job Mr. President...moron is going to get everybody killed.

    January 16, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. wilson

    What's shocking to me is that there are people posting on here who actually think that Romney or Paul would be a good president. The only reasons I can think of is that they have a lot of money they are trying to protect, or they don't know the actual issues that the candidates stand for, or they are idiots.

    January 16, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. CatLib

    Polls are NOT the last word!

    January 16, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Omen

    Mitt Romney is just like bush.he only cares about money fo him self and rich friends. paul warned us about the big collapse of wall street in 1988 and he does care about Americans in research people. Don't judge someone by there things and looks. Look at the man by what he is.

    January 16, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. David

    We have 2 options, Obama or Romney

    Voting for any GOP candidate that is not viable is a vote for Obama

    January 16, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. RealChange

    For anyone who atleast spent one year out side of USA or try to gauge what the world thinks about America can CLEARLY see how important it is to take Ron Paul's foreign policy seriously. He is the only sane person around.
    USA is gaining more and more enemies by killing hundreds of thousands of foreigners. A few short sighted politicans are causing a lot of trougle to the world and creating threats for the future generations as well

    January 16, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. the guy who actually looks at the data

    After looking at the data from this poll, unfortunately it seems this poll suffers from the same problems that many other cnn polls suffer from. CNN disproportionately surveyed different demographics in collecting this data. they surveyed more people from the more conservative south region than they should have in comparison to the more liberal northeast and west regions. Additionally, they disproportionately surveyed americans over 50 to americans under 50. Also they surveyed more Americans with above average incomes than those with below average incomes.

    January 16, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Rebecca Illich

    Basically this poll says that Romney and President Obama are tied nationally. The reason for this is that democrats are not thinking about the election yet. Once the republican primary is over and the economy improves democrats will start paying attention. Republicans are not going to the as enthusiastic as if Ron Paul or Santorum or even Perry was the nominee. If I was a republican I would not be enthusiastic over a millionaire big business Romney who believe corporations are people and is beloved by Wallstreet biggies.

    January 16, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Josiah-David

    MANY polls have shown Ron Paul as having the best chance to beat Obama… what is Romney going to say to Obama that isn’t hypocritical to any position he has had once himself i.e. support for individual mandate, support for Obama's "stimulus" package, carbon taxes, open borders, gun control, support for TARP, etc

    Romney's just another wolf in pretty-boy sheep clothing.

    January 16, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. KALOWG

    Wow. This is by far the biggest news for the Paul campaign. Could this be the story which rallies conservatives around "their" candidate? Time will tell.

    January 16, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Fla Pete

    CNNs poll was taken where,in front of a Repubs pollster office.Wait till Obama debates any of them,then the Repubs will be done,case closed.Obama can raise from the middleclass more money than all of them combined,FACT.On donations of less than 200 dollars,not the Koch brothers,not Swiftboats T Boomed Pickens,not anyone,period..From the 99%ers,good luck hunting Obama,hope you have a RAT hunting permit...

    January 16, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. xxixpines

    Why are you afraid to show the nation your TAX return?

    January 16, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Obama wins big

    The clowns that the rich Republican's are pushing on to us will
    assure the Democrat's win the Presidential election and Congress.

    January 16, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Noodle Nose Johnson

    So after hours of TV time bashing Obama and blaming him for EVERYTHING the past 6 months on the campaign trail, the best the top GOP vote getters can reach is a tie? I don't think that bodes well for the GOP in November.

    January 16, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Larry R

    Another rediculous poll with a ludicrously small sample. It stimulates interest but determines nothing. The conventions have not even been held, the world will see great change and opinions will shift. The only purpose of these polls is to give the pundits and "poltical strategists" justfication for their existence with something to talk about.

    January 16, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. jon

    Once the nominee is chosen, conservatives will rally around them, the flip side is 4 more years of Obama.

    January 16, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Juan Viche

    A vote for Paul is a vote for All (We the People)

    January 16, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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