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. ST

    We have witnessed during GOP primaries, on exit polls taken that people said it is economy first, and yet they went and voted to the person they liked. This pattern will be the same come Nov. Romney fixing the economy is just only wishful thinking. What he did in the past was just a small portion of what is expected to be done to the entire nation. Most likely it can turn out to be a failure!

    April 10, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Joseph

    So most things are within sampling error except Obama would beat Romney by 7%.
    The economic policies of Romney are unknown because he has said if he told people what they really are and the cuts they involved, people would not vote for him.

    April 10, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. Dave

    Obama vs. Romney is no contest. Obama's not perfect, but the idea of voting for Romney is completely absurd to me. And yet, he's still the best bet the Republicans have going.

    I honestly don't see myself ever voting for a Republican again after the theocratic mess their party has turned into in the last decade or two. But then, I live in a state which consistently elects Republicans and consistently gets horrible results from their policies, all across the board. The only people who like Republicans anymore are those who vote because of religion, or those who've never actually lived in a red state to see how badly conservative policies actually perform when tested. I mean, if conservativism is actually the best political ideology, why aren't states like Mississippi and Alabama leading the rest of the country, instead of coming in last in everything, decade after decade? When tested, the ideology fails. The GOP is lucky that the people here are so sold on their pandering to religion that they never examine the results that their votes are actually getting them.

    April 10, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. sayer

    Romney has to prove cutting taxes is going to lower the debt and deficit before I believe he will be better at handling the economy. That's just crazy, vote-for-me talk.

    April 10, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. pelicans

    ...so I have actually heard talking heads report that Romney needs to pull ahead of Obama....one would think that for Obama who supposedly "could walk on water" would be WAY ahead in the polls...... I bet inside polling shows Obama in deep trouble...so goes Obama argument...have/have nots....Obama cannot run on his record

    April 10, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. Alina1

    Obama and dude Biden 2012!

    April 10, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Preacherguy

    Let's see now – Romney is of the ilk who shattered the economy with their immoral business practices and then wanted the government to bail them out while they got to blame the government for the increased deficit – yeah, he's the guy who has the best shot at fixing the economy – NOT!!! I'm going to stick with the current guy – at least he honestly seems to be trying – in spite of all the stonewalling by the GOP.

    April 10, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. davis

    4more year of Obama failure?

    April 10, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Tom

    Obama is going DOWN. Once the republicans start their commercials, the average American who does not follow the news and f9ollow what this turd does will find out. THE TRUTH KILLS POLITICIANS!!

    April 10, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. johnmenacherjr

    I cant beleive anyone can "like" Romney given his attachment to the self proclaimed econimcic know it all Paul Ryan. Why are people in this country so obsessed with these type of econimcs? Dont we ever learn anything?

    April 10, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Amen Sandy

    April 10, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. John

    Can anyone tell me what company Romney started? He mentions Staples all the time but last time I looked it was started by Leo Kahn and Thomas Stemberg (a friend of Romney's) and yes they used the available goverment subsidies to expand. So Romney's experience and expertise is basically looking out how to screw over people, and reap the rewards. Hmm, are we really in an era that different from the Robber Barons of the 19th century?

    April 10, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Kay

    For anyone saying that Obama would do a better job on creating jobs than ANYONE, I ask, where are the jobs he has created in 3+ years? Is this really a record he wants to run on? The more important question is has he created laws to help the private sector create jobs, or has he created regulations that have crippled growth?

    April 10, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. legalcld

    It really doesn't matter, obama's already rigged the election! Our votes will now be counted in spain, by a big obama contributor, with no paper trail!

    April 10, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. K3Citizen

    Polls don't mean anything six months before an election. Romney has plenty of time to lose ground.

    April 10, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. FIELD1stSGT

    CNN give up your biased polls and tell the truth. Over 70 % of the public says Obama must go no matter who it is running against him.

    April 10, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Rsprings

    He's got a nice smile and panders to everyone..Promises to give everyone free stuff. How can you not like him.

    April 10, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. SUBS 4 VOTES

    47th in the nation in job creation – Willard Milton Romney

    How in the world is he equipped or qualified to bring jobs BACK TO AMERICA? He's always ot there on the trail speaking about how he's a Washington outsider and he's a businessman. Well we've gotten a preview of just how good a businessman does in politics. You are a very poor example Willard. Your signature achievement, ROMNEYCARE, is the best thing you did as governor. And you don;t even run on that. As far as creating jobs, you're a joke!

    April 10, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Independent Voters

    Why do Romney have 2 split bank account he hidding that he filthy rich. President Obama going to win by landslide.
    Romney is for the rich and Obama is for middle class and poor.

    April 10, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. hate and lies from the right

    If the president could get any cooperation from the" defeat the president no matter how awful the middle americans hurt right side of the isle republicans" the economy would most likely be up and humming

    April 10, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    The key indicator of how the GOP feels about Romney is in the number of people voting in closed GOP primaries. Its either been down significantly, or ihas been basically flat. Only South Carolina had a significant increase in the number of people voting, and that was due to Gingrich running a populist campaign that has since been steamrolled by Crossroads and the other GOP groups carpet-bombing him and Santorum. People don't like Romney, they are not enthusiastic about his policies( such as they are), and his supporters cannot offer any compelling arguement as to why Romney should be president: this is after almost 6 years of continuously running. There is an amazing level of denial of how Romney has failed to make the case for himself. No new arguments, only the same tired, worn out lies he has been flinging with less and less success. Meanwhile, we get treated to the spectacle of the joy the GOP feels when the jobs numbers are down, because they see opportunity in other people's misery, a misery they have no real intention of alleviating because of their stubborn, blind adherance to morally-bankrupt policies that do nothing to build the middle class in this country. its ironic they blindly cling to a witch's brew of Randian Objectivism and Fundamentalist Christianity which has done nothing but divide this country while they have been screaming about liberals supposedly practicing class warfare: actually practicing class warfare is far different from pointing out the fact your opponants eat, breathe, and sleep it. The Righties have made it a lifestyle, screaming about it while the Red States take more federal dollars than they send in.

    April 10, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Obamaisscared

    Romney is not perfect.
    Obama is also not perfect.
    The votes will go according to this: Do you feel you are better off now than you were when Mr. Obama became President. With the labor participation rate falling over the last few months we can assume those people are not better off right now. Plus many of these people can not be reached by landlines any longer. With either Romney nor Obama we are not going to head in the right direction.

    April 10, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. SF

    This country has become so stupid!!! really? romney would handle the economy better? you people need serious help! ok, so Romney favors pretty much every Republican candidate's policies...i.e. (GEORGE BUSH!!!) and well if you cant get it through your thick heads that it will only get worse and worse under another republican, then you idiotic americans deserve what's coming to you! GO ahead, elect romney, santorum or gingricht as your next potus...let's see where you're at in 4-8 years! this country is retarded!

    April 10, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Sniffit

    "I mean, if conservativism is actually the best political ideology, why aren't states like Mississippi and Alabama leading the rest of the country, instead of coming in last in everything, decade after decade? When tested, the ideology fails. "

    You're looking at it wrong. If you asked a conservative, they'd tell you it's "working as intended," which I suppose is the same as saying it's a success.

    April 10, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. TheTraveler

    Romney represents what we need to fix to get America back on track, less corporate and special interest meddling in government policies. The old saying about having the fox guard the chickens ...

    Obama and Biden in 2012

    April 10, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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