Poll: Voters like Obama better than Romney, but split on handling of economy
April 10th, 2012
08:32 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Voters like Obama better than Romney, but split on handling of economy

(CNN) – The latest poll pitting President Barack Obama against his likely GOP opponent Mitt Romney shows the president topping his rival in a head-to-head matchup, though voters remain split on which presidential contender is best equipped to handle the economy.

The survey, from Washington Post/ABC News, showed Americans divided on which candidate would best handle economic issues – 47% said Romney would do a better job handling the economy generally, compared to 43% who named Obama. But when asked which man would be better at creating jobs, 46% named Obama and 43% said Romney. Both margins were within the poll's 3.5% sampling error.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Voters were less divided on other key issues – 53% said Obama was best poised to handle international affairs, compared to 36% who said Romney. Conversely, when asked which man would do a better job of reducing the federal deficit, 51% said Romney and 38% said Obama.

In terms of likeability, Obama held a clear advantage. Sixty four percent of Americans polled said the president was a more friendly and likeable person, a nearly 2-to-1 advantage over Romney, who was at 26%.

Obama's overall approval rating stood at 50%, but dipped when respondents were polled about specific issues. Forty four percent said they approved of the way the president was handling the economy, and only 28% approved of how Obama was handling high gas prices. His rating on handling of international affairs was higher, at 47%.

When asked which candidate they would choose if the election were held today, 51% of Americans said they would pick Obama and 44% went with Romney.

The serious gender gap between the two candidates – also seen in recent Gallup and CNN/ORC polls – continues to persist. Obama had the support of 57% of women, compared to 38% who said they backed Romney. The former Massachusetts governor had the backing from 52% of men, compared to 44% who back Obama.

Among another important voting block, independents, the poll shows a much tighter race. Forty eight percent of independents backed Romney, compared to 46% who said they supported Obama. That was within the survey's sampling error.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted by phone April 5-8, and surveyed 1,103 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Poll: Nearly three-quarters of Republicans see Romney as nominee

Romney: I speak with Gingrich more than Santorum

Romney campaign pulls negative ad while Santorum halts campaigning

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (404 Responses)
  1. AgrippaMT

    How sweet it is to watch that hate filled right wing religious extremist Santorum drop out of the race. It means Romney will be the Republican nominee, and President Obama will beat him easily. How very sweet it is.

    April 10, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. jane

    @Tom: someday, when you grow up, you'll (maybe) learn that people usually will not be inclined to listen to or give Any credence to some moron who calls the President of his country "turd". Keep that in mind; maybe they'll cover it in your classes when (if) you make it to high school.

    April 10, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. skarphace

    There really is only one policy that differentiates Obama and Romney; where should the money go.

    If you believe in 'trickle-down economics' that puts more of the wealth in the coffers of the 'job-creators', then you should vote for Romney.

    If you believe that the Government has a responsibility to take care of those citizens who are struggling to take care of themselves but don't have the funds, then you should vote for Obama.

    Other than that, the status quo will remain.

    If you want real change, however, consider Ron Paul. I know, you fear change. That is ok, we will survive 4 more years of Obama or 4-8 years of Romney, whichever is the case.

    April 10, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. skarphace

    SuperD: explain to me how Romney is going to convince Teavangelists to get off the couch and vote for him. Without those votes, he is destined to lose soundly in November.

    April 10, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    To Whom It Most Concerns:

    You know you're a redneck when you blame black Americans for all of America's woes.

    April 10, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    when polls show something a person does not agree with they do the logical thing....they DISMISS them. You can see that by the post here. Polls will change from now to Nov but the trends are what people should be looking at. Right now it is trending towards Obama but of course that could change if the economy goes bad which is why the DNC chair made the statement she did. She was attacked by the right for it but the statement made sense...a good improving economy DOES help Obama and the Democrats....high gas prices hurt them so why should the GOP want gas prices to go down anytime soon. Probably why Newt nor Bachmann will not share their secrets with us on how to get gas down to as low as $2 a gallon.

    April 10, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. L.C.

    I will be voting for Ron Paul in 2012, even if it means I have to write his name in again, like I did in '08.

    Long Live Liberty, Truth & Justice For All – there's only one candidate who is serious about bringing it. The others are just paid BIG to act like it.

    April 10, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Ted van Tol

    to Super D

    Here is the answer: 30 million people who got healthcare by Obama's effort should be voting for him in November.
    Then he is halfway!

    Good luck Obama

    April 10, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. latina

    My vote breaks the split I am voting for Romney I do not like "Obozo". Please don't say voters like "OBOZO" better than Romney infact all my family and many many friends prefer Romny over "OBOZO". Guess what I am Latina/American and I am a Repbulican. Idiot Democrats will vote for "OBOZO: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORomney/2012.

    April 10, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. john

    SuperD...you have a remarkable command of the English language...you are...no doubt...a credit to the GOP...

    April 10, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. woman in california

    I love how people would vote for Obama because he's a "goodlooking black dude" and falsely label a successful business man as a "tax evader"... sounds like somebody's a little insecure that they don't drive a Cadillac but instead drives a 1980 beat up corolla. Get a job you lazy un-American hippie!

    April 10, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. george

    @ SuperD Do you really think only liberals will vote for Obama? He will get the liberal vote, woman, independents, hispanics, blacks, gays and from what I've been reading, MANY republicans. 4 more years. Deal with it.

    April 10, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. mark99er

    I don't know how these numbers add up when the Republicans have lost the womens vote, the hispanic vote, the independent vote, of course the black vote and 45% of the white vote (the now minority). This is going to be 1964 but even worse, a BLOW OUT!

    April 10, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Jimm


    You liberals ought to get off this board and go somewhere else that is not in the tank for the Democrats. You would be amazed at what those people are saying, and it aint all this crap going on here.

    I would like the Liberals to explain to me how Obama is going to get back millions of votes of all the people who had buyers remorse in voting for Obama. This just in, he aint getting those votes back.


    huh? He still beats Romney, who has no clue what to do.

    April 10, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. GOP hate america

    SUPER D....no buyers remorse here im voting for Obama again. now go back to your trailer trash blogs and alert the inbreeds they have til 2016 to keep crying

    April 10, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    I love how those who slam the Obama supporters on here assume none of us have a nice car or a nice home: guess what, making a great living in the private sector, just paid off my 2007 Ford, buying a new house: woman in california, people like you work for people like me. Deal with it.

    April 10, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. GOP hate america

    @woman in california.....you probably were one of those people that voted for bush because he was the better one to have a beer with.

    April 10, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. skarphace

    Latina: anybody who cannot show the minute bit of respect for our President does not deserve to be American.

    woman in california: just because the polls show that people find Obama more charismatic than Romney does not mean that it is the only reason they would vote for him. Such is called spin. Leave the spin to the experts, please.

    April 10, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Alan

    Here’s what the last Republican president left us with. The last 6 months of Bush:

    Aug 2008 – 334,000 net JOBS LOST
    Sep 2008 – 458,000 net JOBS LOST
    Oct 2008 – 554,000 net JOBS LOST
    Nov 2008 – 728,000 net JOBS LOST
    Dec 2008 – 673,000 net JOBS LOST
    Jan 2009 – 779,000 net JOBS LOST

    – United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

    April 10, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Wilhelm von Paulus

    This election was over 6 months ago. I have no idea what the teabaggers will do until 2016 since "stopping Obama" will be a moot point. Perhaps they'll take up knitting.

    April 10, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. FLIndependent

    I guarantee you that if Romney wins (heaven help us) that we will hear nothing more about debt , deficits or jobs. The immediate focus will be on Iran and starting the next big war. I predicted when GW Bush got elected that it wouldn't be long before we went to war with Iraq and I was right. I don't trust these neo-cons, of which I believe Romney is one. Consider this – why would they be happy for the economy and job situation to get worse before the election since that would ony make it that much harder for Romney to turn things around (as it was for Obama) – because they feel that is how they can win and once in full control none of these important issues will be addressed. I will stick with Obama for 4 more years!

    April 10, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Either we will go with the Progressive/Socialist view of the Government and State are all supreme and will tell us what rights we have; or we will stay with the view of the Founders that the individual is supreme and has God Given Rights that cannot be encroached on by government; that governments are servants of the People.

    What's it going to be?"

    It's going to be alot of very sane people loudly telling you blithering idiots who spout this "socialism" and "marxism" McCarthyist nonsense that the world is not a maze of black and white, good versus evil, one extreme versus the other decisions based on false dichotomies. YOU may have delusional thinking problems that prevent you from recognizing that not a single thing Obama has done would please or has pleased people in this country that consider themself an actual "socialist," but most of us don't harbor such thinking disorders. YOU may think it makes perfect sense because of your anger and fear and resentment over the lection of a black dude from the "other team" as president to run around spewing misinformation, misrepresentations, demagoguery and outright lies and ramping up efforts to radicalize the conservative base in hopes that gifting your fellow conservatives with similar thought disorders, anger, fear and resentment will divide the country and give you an edge, but you're sadly mistaken. You brought it up by referring to that time period, but quite frankly you'd throw a nutty if I bothered teasing out the parallels bewteen that time period and now...the ones that you've obviously and accidentally forgotten have been made obvious by the Teatrolls' and extremist groups' behavior over the past 3 years. You do the math.

    April 10, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "If you want real change, however, consider Ron Paul. I know, you fear change"

    Ummm, no. We fear the change he explicitly states he wants to make. There's a difference. Learn it.

    April 10, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    MaryM – Mittens, Lets hear about the great job you did in Mass.??? NO, why not, arn't you proud of the jobs you created in Mass (not) or maybe education being one of the lowest rankings in the nation. awwwwwwww can't run on your record.
    I doubt you're interested in real facts if you're regurgitating this media matters BS. But you need to actually look up some facts on your own instead of believing liberal fabricators like Rudy and Sniffin. Mass unemployment while Romney was governor was below 5% (considered full employment) most of his term and the schools are far from the worse in the nation.

    As usual, another totally ignorant Obama supporter stumbling through life....
    And, as usual, you neglected to mention that he only added 51,000 in 4 years to the employment rolls, an increase of less than 1.5% in the total employment picture. Its not unemployment I've focused on, its the number of jobs. BTW, If it were'nt for 30,000 jobs in his last year, the figure would have been far worse ( Bush's Bureau of Labor Statistics). Another example of cut and paste propaganda: you would loved working for Goebbels.

    April 10, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    @ SuperD: I would like the Liberals to explain to me how Obama is going to get back millions of votes of all the people who had buyers remorse in voting for Obama. This just in, he aint getting those votes back.
    Keep thinking that Junior: you just made a close election into a landslide by putting the events coordinator in charge.

    April 10, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17