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. Flip Flopney? Gordon Gecko? No thanks.

    Who is this Mitt Romney? We know he's a guy whose only significant accomplishment in government was "Obamacare" (aka Romneycare), a program conservatives call a "massive socialist takeover". Now he says he's opposed to it. He said that he's "a moderate with progressive views", but he spends most of his time these days trying to paint the extremely centrist President as some sort of Bolshevik renegade. He's a guy who doesn't seem to be much interested in the truth, a guy who takes the art of saying whatever it takes to get elected to a whole new level. He's a guy whose CEO (and Michigan Governor) father paved his road in life who now says he believes in "meritocracy", despite never having experienced it. He's a guy who made his fortune killing jobs, strip-mining companies, and collecting the life insurance. He's known no hardship in his life and yet he wants to take over a country he says is in crisis? No thanks. I'm sticking with the guy who inherited nothing and actually worked his way to the top. I'm sticking with the guy who headed off a 2nd Great Depression, took out bin Laden, and ended the misguided war in Iraq. I'm sticking with the middle class kid raised by a single mom from Kansas who actually had to make his own way and hasn't forgotten what a long road it was.

    January 16, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. If Only

    Unfortunately, there isn't a good option on either side of the ballot. Abdication or ineptness wherever you look.

    January 16, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Robert Yarush

    I really see no purpose in these "Polls" that the media continuously insist on blasting out to the public. To what end to they serve?? to confuse?? to sway public sentiment?? I just dont get what they are for. Its not difficult enough that we cant make heads or tails about whether or not the perspective politicians are in fact lying... or telling the truth... we have the media congesting the rational deduction by injecting these snipit polls. I see it as a total waste of time.... The media should really insist on this end fighing between politicians halt.... the media is supposed to keep these people in check... In my estimation... the media is a serious part of the problem in todays politics... its like you thrive on the constant sniping at one another that these politicians do.... you thrive on that next "Gotcha" moment that you can broadcast on the television.... giving the oponet the advantage for a brief time... Yes.. the media is part of the problem in American politics... the American politicians are just pulling your strings for the advantage... and your too stupid to realize it.

    January 16, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Nmblned

    Looks like for more years of " Hope and pocket change".

    January 16, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. us1776

    And just think, the President hasn't even begun to campaign yet.

    January 16, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. jt

    I like how in the breaking news headline it reads that Obama and Romney tied, but when you click on the link for the full story, the headline included Paul LOL Gotta love MSM

    January 16, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. matt

    Just wait til the debates. People forget but Obama is one of the finest debaters this country has ever seen, and its part of the reason he got so popular in the first place. He's going to bury Romney.

    January 16, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Joanne Ransing

    Iowa and New Hampshire a re irrelevant and Ron Paul is unelectable. Does the media BS ever stop? Who listens to this stuff anyway? Apparently not the target audience.

    January 16, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. JD

    I am really tired of the media ignoring Ron Paul. I clicked the 'breaking news link' that stated ROMNEY AND OBAMA TIED! To see that both Romney AND Paul are tied. What is going on? The American public is sick of both 'liberal' and 'conservative' media attempting to manipulate the message. CNN makes me sick!

    January 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Penguin

    The only demographic consistently for Ron Paul are closet racists.

    The only demographic consistently for Mittens Romney are CEOs.

    The only demographic consistently for Obama: the American People.

    January 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Gavin

    Oh Boy, this is not going to go well with Barry. He is probably already on a call with the Ax man. I can just hear the words of an angry man......"Ax what is going on? We are spending billions on my campaign and we are tied with Ron Paul and Mit Romney. You better get on it AX. With all the money we are spending against Mitt I want you to spin up another poll showing me leading Ron Paul if he is the candidate. I don't care what you have to do to change the numbers, just get it done, Ax"

    January 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Copernicus

    Well, hopefully one of them has a corrupt brother who's a governor in a decisive state so it won't have to be a tie in the real election.

    January 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Gavin

    Means nothing. At this point, you could throw out any two names...or just say random things like Apple and Orange, and slap a D next to one and an R next to the other and the results would be about 50-50. It's only when the direct campaigning starts that distinctions are drawn for the majority of voters, and MOST of them will vote based on who they "like" better, not on any substantive issues.

    January 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. MikeyZ

    Gee, too bad it's not November. Otherwise this poll might be relevant.

    January 16, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. beevee

    If the polls are any indication it will be president Obama again 2012-2016. People cannot overlook the improvements in jobs and general economy that are occurring recently and the credit goes to the current president's efforts in the face of stiff opposition by GOP held congress. Romney does not have a chance despite the polls.

    January 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Martha in CF

    After watching Bill Moyers on Sunday-any Republican should be voted out of office for their simple belief in --not to tax the rich!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Too early to believe any poll anyway..................

    January 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Jose

    Ask Santorum if he is electable, and if he has any plans to run 3rd party.

    January 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Mary

    IWalking door to door in my neighborhood recently, I hear "I'm voting for the guy who is electable, Romney" - people are basically saying they will hold their nose and vote for Romney despite the FACT that with Romney we will just be shoveling our children's future taxes at banks for another four years. NOTHING will change with Romney. He is every bit as much an establishment candidate as Obama.

    Please, people, learn about Ron Paul. We have only a slim chance of restoring America, and HE IS IT. Go to and read about his position on the issues; go to youtube and watch some of his speeches.

    Ron Paul 2012 or bust.

    January 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    This is breaking news?? Polls between Obama and the GOP contender won't mean squat until they're both on a stage in debate. Until then, stop trying to colonize our minds with polling statistics.

    January 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. GaryB

    Right now, a lot of people view Romney as a generic businessman. As more of Romney's business record comes to light (for instance, his penchant for shredding American jobs to generate short term profits for the already wealthy), he's going to lose that "better for the economy" edge. Considering Romney's weak track record in job creation and these numbers, it may ultimately turn out that Ron Paul is actually the Republican canidate with the best chance against Obama.

    January 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. rl

    Is this really news when we are still 9 months before the elections? What happened to news outlets reporting news and not hype?

    January 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. vegan48

    President Obama will win

    January 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Say What

    P Romney and VP Paul would be an unstoppable Republican combination for this coming fall.

    January 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Robert

    Obama will be reelected.

    January 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. chet 2012

    This poll does not reflect the overall nation. There is alot of Paul supporters and Romney Supporters.

    January 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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