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.

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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. DaveA.

    So Obama isn't perfect! Duh! He has done his best, and he has my vote!!!

    April 11, 2012 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  2. Alameda, Ca

    People don't remember 8-year Republican got us into this mess. 3-1/2 years of President Obama continues to get the "negative" from the GOP. Republicans are for the rich and not for us the middle, hard working Americans. Bush spent your tax$ bombing Iraq, President Obama spent tax$ to rebuild our country. Take you pick.

    April 11, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  3. setnommarih

    There is very little reason to post a comment since CNN is censoring

    April 11, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  4. DDearborn


    The People want Ron Paul. But you the rest of the US media, the GOP and people in Control of Congress and the White House have denied the people thier choice by hook and crook.........

    April 11, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  5. blakely

    IF the choice is between mitt OR obama –i choose RON PAUL he's the only one not bought and paid for !! period

    April 11, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  6. Jack V

    Mitt Romney is the sort of guy that will say ANYTHING to get where he wants. That's what people who worship at the throne of the almighty piece of gold do. He's nothing but a good old fashioned con man.

    April 11, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  7. heidi

    This is not a presidential election.
    This is a bad joke.

    April 11, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  8. Dave

    I wonder if the media has anything to do with the impression people have. The liberal media protects Obama consistently and with no justification whatsoever.

    April 11, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  9. John

    Mitt Romney will tell you one thing and LIE about the next day.

    April 11, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Dan J

    People say they can't trust Romney because all he does is back whatever polls well. Well, isn't that a good thing? Don't we want a president who will readily do what the people say, versus a paternalistic president who does what he thinks is best for us?

    Obama can't keep blaming the "obstructionist republicans." Not when the democrats controlled at least one branch of government for the past eight years, and while the democrats controlled two branches of government during over half of his presidency so far. Bush, according to liberals, managed to "screw" the country up with a small minority of republicans in the legislative branch, but when the democrats controlled the legislative and executive branches under Obama, they couldn't get anything done because of the republicans. Sorry, guys, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

    April 11, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. rand

    Just look at the Bowles Simpson recommendation for TAX INCREASES planned by Obama (they're NOT just for the $250,000 and UP wage earner) and maybe THAT horrific tax increase on middle income Americans will help people decide..........

    April 11, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  12. ReallY!!?

    So let me get this straight. Warren Buffett wants to pay more in Federal income taxes because as both Buffett & Obama puts it the rich like themselves are not paying enough in taxes. Sooooooo why is Warren Buffet suing the IRS and refusing to pay the IRS for over $1billion in taxes!! Even if the IRS is wrong on the amt., if Buffett claims he is not paying enough well here is the opportunity for Buffett to put his money where his mouth is and pay more. But noooooo cannot do that. Hypocrisy??? U betcha!!! How nice that MSM is not even reporting this...

    April 11, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. ReallY!!?

    So Romney's religion is a problem but not Obama's? Really? Sat in Wright's pew for 20yrs & claim to never heard the hatefill rhetoric fr the racist pastor? Really people?
    @Larry L: hey Larry u watch morons like Lawerence O'Donnel spout lies in his special on "Mormoms" and u believe him. Could u be anymore ignorant? If u have a problem with Romney's religion, you should have a problem with Harry Reid the head of the Senate and Obama's right hand man. Harry Reid is a practicing Mormom!! Is Harry Reid "a man who represents a religion that still keeps African Americans (and women) from attaining status equal to white males...." ?

    April 11, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. sonnie3

    You can do what you want with polls frome the bias media. Ain't no place to put your stock. My polls come from every day ordinary people. Can't find 1 in 10 in my area that think obama is doing so good as they want the fella back for four more years of fiscal policy that is stupid by even a teenager in school. Time to quit printing money now.

    April 11, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Prosperid

    @ sonnie3

    1) What is the ethnic ratio/percentage of those folks in your area?
    2) Ask the same people how well their Republicans are doing, especially in a congress that hopes that the president (and might as well say the COUNTRY also) FAIL!!!!!

    Faux news is bias media that you need to stop watching.....also do some research.

    April 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Hopeful

    I don't think that Obama is perfect at all but I just couldn't even imagine having the Rebulican party running my country at this time. They are way too confused and messed up right now. If their own party is divided and fractured, what would happen to the country. We just don't need it right now.

    April 11, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. ANTI-CON

    I've watched as President Obama has done his level best to bring this country back from the edge of the economic Armageddon G.W. Bush & Co. took us to and put us back on a course of economic , I've watched him keep his word on getting us out of the needless war with Iraq that the previous administration LIED us into, I've watched him take out two of the worlds most dangerous terrorist and do a good job being our Commander and Chief of the military to date, I've watched him work hard to get ALL AMERICANS health care because he actually does care about ALL AMERICANS,.. and I've watched him do all of this with NO HELP WHAT SO EVER from the Republican side of the aisle who's only goal is to make sure that he does not get another term.

    Why would anyone chose a LYING, FLIP FLOPPING, SAY ANYTHING TO GARNER VOTES, EMPTY SUIT like Mitt Romney over President Obama who has proven that he can do the job that the Republicans have proven that they can not, e.g. by way of the G.W. Bush & Co. administration, WHY would anyone give them another shot at taking the country down,.. I sure won't !

    Obama / Biden 2012.

    April 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. hoapres

    We would be better off spending the monies spent on the upcoming nonelection on soup kitchens and homeless shelters and just declare Obama president by acclimation.

    Obama is going to handily beat Romney aka ORomney aka OBama Light. The fiscal conservatives don't like Romney at all and are going to sit this election out or even for Obama. No matter who gets elected nothing will change until the economy completely falls apart. Far better to simply LOSE the election and let the OTHER side take the blame. The LAST thing the Republicans want is to win the White House.

    April 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Gabriela

    With such qualities in the superlative it is difficult to believe Barack Obama being not good for the top level post. ("The Daily" comments at Michael Holmes' broadcast) Maybe it was about a twisted advertising.

    April 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. FLIndependent

    @TheMan – "I find it truly amazing that so many years ago you were able to predict that NYC was going to be the target of a terrorist attack on our Nation. Because on that Day in Sept is when W decided something needed to be done and that is when all the iran, iraq, and war on terrorism talk started. Not because W just felt like it"
    Please tell me you're not serious, please!! Are you still one of the few that believes Iraq had anything to do with 9/11? The Iraq War was in the works since Bush I first attacked them and didn't "finish" the job. It was Cheney who was his henchman and, who else to get to finish the job, but Bush II. Where do you people reside anyway – were you living in caves with Bin Laden? Bush II himself stated that he had a grudge against Saddam for what he did to his Daddy. It was extremely predictable that Bush II was going to invade Iraq – 9/11 just gave him more of an excuse to lie to us about it.

    April 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Just Say No to Flipper

    "People say they can't trust Romney because all he does is back whatever polls well. Well, isn't that a good thing? Don't we want a president who will readily do what the people say, versus a paternalistic president who does what he thinks is best for us?"

    That would sound a lot more logical if Rmoney was listening to the three quarters of voters who want the millionaire tax. Somehow Rmoney always manages to lose his hearing when this subject is discussed.

    April 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "So let me get this straight. Warren Buffett wants to pay more in Federal income taxes because as both Buffett & Obama puts it the rich like themselves are not paying enough in taxes. Sooooooo why is Warren Buffet suing the IRS and refusing to pay the IRS for over $1billion in taxes!!"

    No, that's his COMPANY that is in a dispute with the IRS. But since you obviously believe corporations paying their fair share is an important issue, please tell share your poutrage over the companies that paid no taxes last year, or those that got big subsidies and breaks like BIg Oil, or all the other corporate welfare queens who corrupt our tax code to their advantage and our detriment.

    April 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "Another Day in the Idiot Mines, Sorry, do some homework. Most of this was left by Bush so get your facts right before blasting your fingers off."

    Sorry bub, it's you who needs to buy a clue. Right now I'm looking at a graphic from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. When you factor out the amount of the deficit attributed to the economic downturn (reduced tax revenues) the big items are TARP/FannieFreddie and other recovery measures, which account for about $300 billion or so (and were partly on Bush's watch as well), The Bush Wars and the Bush Tax Cuts account for over $400 billion of the deficit. Facts are not your friend when you're a GOBP cultmember and lie-spreader.

    April 11, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Debby

    Its to bad we can't a Republican one year, a Dem. the next, instead of having to vote on who we think will do a better job. The only thing we vote on is the primaries and pick our nominee. This way the 2 parties have to work together and with all these smart talking heads should make the USA on top all the time.

    April 11, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. tom clements

    Dont give the gov more of anybodys money. They waste what they are already given!!!

    April 11, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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