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. Taran

    Obama-Biden 2012!!!! The way forward to a USA the equivalent of Greece, Spain, and France!!!

    April 10, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. ST


    Obama cannot run on his record
    Have you heard even once your buddy Romney running of his records what he did in Massachusetts?
    Totally none.

    April 10, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Lizzie

    Preach.....he is trying to get us where?????? To be more European, to be more in debt, to be more like Greece, Spain. To take from the rich and give to the poor, to keep more people dependent on government.
    I remember Pres.Obama saying, I'm going to be the President of the UNITED states, I remember him saying I WILL CUT THE DEFICIT IN HALF, he has done none of those.

    April 10, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. asdf

    Romney often complains about Santorum ignoring the math of primary votes, but I question Romney's math skills when he claims he will reduce the deficit somehow by taking in less money and spending the same amount.

    April 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Four and The Door

    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!!!
    Of the ilk?!?! Do you have any idea what are you talking about? The business practices of Mitt Romney have been extremely beneficial to the companies Bain has helped, to the employees of those companies and to the communities that those companies operated in. You do understand Preacherguy, that Bain helps companies who are in serious trouble to begin with. Bain then invests in the company and works to develop and implement business plans that make the company successful again. Sure Bain makes money on those activities. They should! They provide huge value and take great risk with their own investment that they can make the company successful again.

    Mitt Romney never asked for government bailout money for any of his businesses. In fact, if Solyndra had gone to a company like Bain Capital instead of Washington DC for money, they would probably still be in business.

    Obama is out of his element trying to do anything about the economy. He has no experience with private companies or business and when you think about it, our economy is based on private companies and businesses. Mitt Romney is absolutely the right guy for making positive things happen in our economy for everyone.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012

    April 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Bill, NY

    I beg to differ that the President can't run on his record. When he came into office this country was on the rim of the proverbial toilet bowl with two hands on the flusher. Despite the GOP doing everything within their power to destroy and obstruct him, we can now see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The Dow was looking 6,000 squarely in the eye and now we are over 12,000. If some republican did some of the things this president has done they would be praising him as if he were some type of god.

    April 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Ann

    "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%. "

    Yes, sure, same response 4 years ago when voters 'liked' Mr. Obama more than Hillary. What would be their answer today? It's the economy stupid not whose smile makes you more comfortable.

    April 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    Anyone with half a brain knows Romney has ten times more business experience than Obama. Obama never ran a business, never ran a town, city or state….period. That is a fact no one can dispute. Romney has a track record of success within the business world and with turning the Olympics around……more facts. Obama does have Oprah pulling for him so and he did teach, oh AND he was a community organizer (LOL) so I guess he has plenty of (LOL) experience…….

    April 10, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. wrongheifer

    Unbeleivable that there are still Obama "believers"...

    April 10, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. Dave A.

    Romney ripped off the American economy and the American working class. Is this what we want as
    Our next president??
    Obama landslide 2012!

    April 10, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. wrongheifer

    Obama is trying to ensure his second term by having the votes counted in Spain...outsourced voting....who knew?

    April 10, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  12. Larry L


    "I doubt this is accurate. Even if it is, it is a reflection of the liberal media bias. Obama gets praised in spite of debt, deficits and unemployment. Romney gets criticized for success in business, the olympics and as governor."
    Obama's debt resulted from the Bush wars, tax cuts and spiraling recession he left behind. Why is that hard to see? Over 8.5 million jobs were lost before President Obama took office and we were on the edge of a deep depression. The President's efforts to dig out of that hole required huge spending to jump-start the economy – something unbiased economists knew we required and something that worked. The Republicans did nothing but obstruct – with Republican Senators filibustering their own work! Blaming President Obama for the spending is like blaming the Fire Department for the water bill after they put out a huge fire. Should they simply allow the fire to burn to ashes to save water?

    Regarding Romney's record I refer you to Wire Palladin, S.F. (above). He captured it very well.

    April 10, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Pete

    If comparing the two,Pres.Obama,Romney,you can see the difference immediately.The incumbent has an intelligent insightful plan for the nation and its citizens.Romney on the other hand sees only running the country as a corporation,he doesn't see people in his immediate future,that's why he is so out of touch with the middle class and poor,never been there,who cares,attitude.He will cannalblize the government and policies related to the people because he's never been in the middle class and poor peoples shoes.Romneys nevered worried about the price of ANYTHING,because his father took care of him,sheltering him from any hardships in life.Government under Romney will noticeably be larger because he'll hire his decision makers for EVERYTHING,he's not a leader,just a corporate head piece.His trolls will do his bidding,he'll never get his hands dirty. He's never had to fix anything,nothing close to this magnitude without the help from his corporate zombies.He has never been put in the HOT SEAT like Pres.Obama has in foriegn and domestic affairs,he'll look like a deer in the headlights when asked too.So just be carefull in judging the incumbent,he's doing a great job without the help of the party of NO,a sorryful fact..

    April 10, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Bonnie

    Listen to what Mitt Romney & Paul RYAN are saying & if they are elected, just REMEMBER one (1) name – SCOTT WALKER!

    April 10, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. NVa Native

    Obama has a great record to run on – not the least of which is saving America's economy from the results of the failed GOP policies that destroyed our economy. And now the President will save America from the GOP war on women.

    April 10, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. Dean

    When the questions turn to more specific issues, Obama's numbers drop significantly. Thinking people will vote for Romney and (once again) ignorant people will vote for Obama. Luckily, I don't think as many ignorant people will show up at the polls as in 2008.

    April 10, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Wake up people

    The bottom line is conservatism is now red neck code for racism. The only people that believe the rhetoric are the poor white trash, that can barely read or write. They don't care about the economy, they are content living like they are, just as long as that"boy" gets out of the White House. Mittens other supporters are the filthy rich. The middle class.....well let's just say, they don't matter.
    Wake up people!

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 10, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Alois

    Loser obama and his super corrupt administration are the reason for all of our country's woes right now. Bush has been gone for four years now so stop whining blaming him for your incompetence. A real leader would have gotten us out already and not spend time creating a self dictatorship like the fraud that's in here now. Deadbeat obamas only concern is to keep from losing his power so he can continue to destroy our country with his idiotic ,socialistic mentality.Besides Who would vote for somone that steals our taxpayer money and give it to bankrupt companys like solyndra and keep doing so with other companys that have gone out of business shortly after the money changes hands.Sounds like money laundering using taxpayer money.

    April 10, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "Obama's debt resulted from the Bush wars, tax cuts and spiraling recession he left behind. Why is that hard to see?"

    Because the GOP/Teatrolls' tinfoil hats keep sliding down over their neanderthal sloped foreheads and pronounced supraorbital ridges to cover their eyes.

    April 10, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Bush's last deficit was $1.37 trillion, and while our president's current budget has a deficit of $977 billion. Obama has trimmed more than $400 billion off republican reckless spending under "W."

    April 10, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, if you the American people want to judge President Obama's job performance, I urge you to judge or evaluate the President on two simple criterias! (1) Judge or evaluate the President's job performance based on WHAT he inherited from the previous administration and (2), judge or evaluate his job performance based on the type of cooperation he has gotten from the rightwing leadership in congress in 3.5 years! Is that really hard to do?

    April 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. DIANA

    Where are your tax returns Mittens? When was the last time you visited your accounts in Switzerland and the Caymen Islands? Do people really want somebody who hides his assets to run our country?

    April 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Steve

    I find it interesting as I read through these comments that the conservatives here are all saying the same thing; that Obama is taking us further into debt and making us like Greece or Italy. Clearly either Limbaugh or one of the conservative talk show hosts has said that, and the conservative listeners have gotten their talking points for the day. The truth of the matter is that W was such horrible president, HE CAUSED THE ECONOMY TO COLLAPSE! Americans who actually read and watch TV from other than one of Murdock's (Rupert Murdock is the guy who owns Fox News, for all you conservatives out there) propoganda outlets, know that Obama has actually done a pretty good job, despite all the tantrums and whining from the right. We also know he was born in the US (do you actually think the US government, with all its investigative capabilities didn't check??? Really?) he is not a Muslim, he is well-educated, and he has better manners than most of you. For that reason, we, the moderate Americans who have been silent while you have called him racist, bigoted names, and acted like school children, will vote him in for a second term. If you find Obama so disgusting that you cannot act like adults, perhaps you should leave the country. I hear Syria is nice this time of year. May I help you pack?

    April 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. lefty avenger

    Universal health care and conquered republican supreme court judges here we come. Obama wins 51% to Mitt Oligarchy Yacht club Romney's 44%. Republicans get ready for another 4 More Years Obama! We'll force him into being a left wing progressive liberal yet.

    April 10, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Thinking people will not vote for personhood candidate Romney. He has embraced the Ryan plan and will add over $3 trillion to our national debt. Romney promises even more tax cuts for the wealthy, a war with Iran, a renewal of the cold war with Russia, a war against women, seniors, veterans, workers, the middle class and poor people.

    April 10, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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