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. Independant Texan

    Blake -– sounds like you have been watching too much Faux News. Balance yourself with a dose of MSNBC.

    April 10, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Harry

    Romney, under Bain Capitol immediately fired thousands and thousands of workers losing tens of thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that except the Romney sheeple troll "four and the door".

    April 10, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. IndeePendant

    BTW, people are smart. They know Romney created a few sales clarks and admin jobs in Staples US but created a LOT of jobs in China by buying their products and selling them Staples. USA. So, there is Mr. MOReMONey's job creation record.

    April 10, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. MaryM

    blake, try doing some research and stop watching faux news and repeating the lies they spew. Its rotting your brain.

    April 10, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    I see we are still wasting keystrokes trying to get people to be reasonable and honest in their assessment of our President (who will be re-elected, by the way, have no doubt). I'm glad that I haven't missed anything. Well I have to get back to work as we're very busy selling Bentleys, Maybachs and high end Mercedes.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    April 10, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Independant Texan

    Where were all the fiscally conservative Republicans hiding in Congress during Bush/Cheney years of unfunded wars, etc. ??????

    April 10, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Harry

    Romney and his team also maximized returns by firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits. Sometimes Bain investors gained even when companies slid into bankruptcy.

    Romney himself became wealthy at Bain. He is now worth between $190 million and $250 million, much of it derived from his time running the investment firm, his campaign staffers have said.

    Bain managers said their mission was clear. “I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation,” said Marc B. Walpow, a former managing partner at Bain who worked closely with Romney for nine years before forming his own firm. “The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.”

    Here’s the rundown on Mitt Romney’s devastating record as CEO of Bain Capital, a tenure marked by bankruptcies, bailouts, and mass layoffs — all while Romney and his partners raked in billions of dollars in profits for the firm and Romney himself amassed a quarter-billion dollar fortune.

    Romney’s Bain Capital Caused Mass Layoffs, Sent Jobs Overseas

    Thousands of Americans were laid off by Bain Capital at companies it purchased, managed, and, at least a quarter of the time, drove into bankruptcy.

    April 10, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. R Walker

    Hatred will still be hatred. From day one the people on the far right said" we are not going to anything to help President Obama, they would rather see America fail, than to say that this President has lead us out of a bad situation. So. For all of you that still hating and being hateful, be careful, you might just get what you are lookin for, Ann then It's going to be too late.

    April 10, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. bill

    "Good News for Obama" – the entire GOP/Tea Party field are a bunch of morons with nothing but failed fiscal, economic and social policies as their 2012 platform.

    April 10, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Independant Texan

    Where were all the fiscally conservative Republicans hiding in Congress during Bush/Cheney years of unfunded wars, etc. ??????
    At Tiffany's and Saks' spending, spending, spending!!!

    April 10, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. MaryM

    Bain Vulture capital bought companies and MADE millions for mitt and his vulture associated by taking million dollar fees from the company they took over, laying off thousands of AMERICAN workers and selling off bits a pieces of that company. Sounds like Vulture capitalist to me.

    April 10, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Sniffit

    Four the Door – I call BS on the Romney/Bain "success". That approach is all about cutting staff. Wake up. He would be bragging more about it if it were deemed something positive for a company and country.
    So your idea of a successful business plan is cutting staff? Really? How successful have you been with this, Jewels?

    Bain Capital has turned around companies and added and saved tens of thousands of jobs at companies all over America. All kinds of things have changed in a variety of new business plans that have worked. These changes include technology, business processes, marketing programs, product changes, and yes, changes in staff, equipment, suppliers, customers, locations...all of those things that need to work correctly to make a successful business.

    What has Obama done? Well, he spent a lot of money, raised the debt ceiling and now wants to raise taxes. It doesn't seem like the kind of guy that likes to tackle the tough stuff. Like getting spending in control. That takes a different kind of guy. The kind of guy we need to manage our runaway out of control federal government. $16 trillion in the hole.

    Romney/ Ryan 2012"

    You kiss your wife with that mouth? My gawd man. Are you an advertising robot or a person...because that sounded like it was read off a cue card provided by Crossroads GPS after they removed all the reality and inserted all the magic- thinking schizophreniform hivemind programming.

    April 10, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Catzie53

    I don't see the report here on cnn that obamacare is going to raise the deficit "least $340 billion to the deficit, not reduce it." For those Fox news haters, I got this from AP! 🙂

    April 10, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Harry

    Romney, whose time as CEO of Bain Capital has been a centerpiece of his campaign, as he has criticized President Obama for not having experience in the “real economy,” opposed both the 2008 bank bailouts under President George W. Bush and Obama’s rescue of the auto industry. But when Kansas City’s Worldwide Grinding Systems went belly-up less than a decade after Bain became its majority stakeholder, the company, which had been in operation since 1888, had to turn to a federal insurance agency to bailout its pension program in large part because Bain had “saddled” it with “such a heavy debt load”:

    Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they’d been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 (258 pounds) a month.

    What’s more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company’s underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.

    Romney’s Bain Capital Made Billions While Bankrupting Nearly One-Quarter Of The Companies It Invested In

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Romney and company drove nearly a quarter of the firms they bought into bankruptcy, but that didn’t stop them from raking in billions of dollars in profits at the same time:

    April 10, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Pedro

    Romney was a successful businessman. But his success came at the expense of many others. He did not build businesses from the ground up as he would like you to believe. He bought businesses then either liquidated their assets and laid everyone off. Or consolidated them, slashing thousands of jobs. The jobs he claims to have created as a businessman are a complete fabrication. He counts anyone he didn't fire after taking over as a job he created. While this style of business may be profitable for those at the very top, it's also what has the middle class sinking slowly but surely towards poverty.

    April 10, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Laura, Massachusetts

    Obama must have been a terrible community leader since he hasn't led the nation only campaigned the last 3 years. He must have been a horrible law professor since he doesn't know that there are 3 branches of government and you don't knock one because they may not agree with something unconstitutional. He has been the "great divider" not a uniter. I voted for him over McCain last time (after all, I am a dem from MA). I will not vote dem this time around. After all, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Your not going to fool me twice. Once is more than enough.

    April 10, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Harry

    And because of an unfair tax loophole that Romney both supports and personally takes advantage of, he only pays a maximum tax rate of 15 percent — a far lower rate than many middle class workers. Since Romney still refuses to release his tax returns, we can’t say for sure just how low a rate he pays only that it is certainly lower than that paid by tens of millions of middle class Americans.

    IN TWO SENTENCES: Mitt Romney has an economic agenda of, by, and for the wealthiest 1 Percent of Americans at the expense of the other 99 Percent. He may claim to be a job creator, but Romney’s record at Bain Capital shows that he personally made hundreds of millions of dollars by bankrupting companies and laying off thousands of Americans.

    Mittens the job killer.

    April 10, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. rs

    The truth is to this point in his Presidency, the Obama White House has seen more jobs created in less than four years than Bush created in two full terms- the footnote is that all of the jobs created in the Bush years, plus millions more were flushed away in the Bush crash of 2008.
    As Mr. Romney is GW Bush's third term in economics, why anyone would vote for him over Obama is a mystery.

    April 10, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. tstorm92

    When you think back just 4 short years ago when our economy was on the brink of another Great Depression, a war raging in Iraq, lost credibility around the world, and Osama Bin Laden sill threatening and taunting the US over 9/11 and to what shape our country is in today, Obama has done an AMAZING job. Especially considering he pulled us back from the brink with absolutely NO help from Republicans in congress whose only mission is to defeat our president. President Obama definitely has won my vote!

    April 10, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Romney ain't it

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Four, but there is no way Romney is going to "create" jobs should he ever get the chance to become President - his Bain experience notwithstanding. Neither will the economy become smooth sailing simply because some multi-millionaire egomaniac says it will be so. Especially one who hasn't been exactly truthful as to where his own millions are located - whether that be here in America or in a market of job growth he helped create overseas.

    April 10, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Alina1

    I have nothing against Romney as a person, but I do have a lot against him thinking that Presidency is some kind of toy that he didn't have yet. To me he looks more like a spoiled rich kid that wants that toy, and wants it now.

    April 10, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. tstorm92

    When you think back just 4 short years ago when our country was on the brink of another Great Depression, a never-ending war raging in Iraq, and unprecedented fiscal debt left by the Republican administration, and to where we are today, Obama had done a phenomenal job! Especially considering he's had to deal with a Republican congress whose only agenda is to defeat our president. And it's been less than a year since Obama killed Bin Laden, something Bush could not accomplish. Obama definitely has won my vote!

    April 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. jackie treehorn

    Jimmy Carter was up in the polls prior to the election too... we all know how that turned out... (he won one state) when the curtain is closed and the lever pulled... obama's on his way back to chi town... only 1 in 10 have to change their mind... there's plenty more than that...

    April 10, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Jill-IN

    Romney is a joint venture capitalist banker – there is no way I would trust him with America's future. That is the foremost reason why I won't vote for him but aside from that, I just don't trust or like the guy.

    April 10, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "I don't see the report here on cnn that obamacare is going to raise the deficit "least $340 billion to the deficit, not reduce it." For those Fox news haters, I got this from AP! "

    The study is by George Blahous, a noted conservative economist, who is publishing it through the Mercatus Center of George Mason University. Let's take a quick look at the Koch Center...I mean Mercatus Center:

    "The Mercatus Center was founded by Rich Fink, who has worked closely with the Koch family foundations and political activities.[2] As of August 2010 he headed Koch Industries’ lobbying operation in Washington DC[2] and is former president of the Koch Family Foundations, which funds a network of market-oriented think tanks and advocacy groups. Originally it was called the Center for Market Processes and established at the Rutgers University. After the providing of more than thirty million dollars[2] to the George Mason University from the Koch Family, the center moved to George Mason in the mid-1980s before assuming its current name in 1999.[2] The Mercatus Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit and does not receive support from George Mason University or any federal, state or local government, but rather is entirely funded through donations, including some from companies like Koch Industries[3] and ExxonMobil,[4] individual donors and foundations. As of 2011, the center shows that 58% of its funding comes from foundations, 40% from individuals, and 2% from businesses.[1]"

    April 10, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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