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. Wes Monroe

    I think Obama is probably a nice person when you get to know him but I wouldn't vote for him to lead my boy scout troop.

    April 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Mom to 3

    I am happy to see that most Americans know President Obama is the clear choice in November. Romney would just take us backward to the failed GOP policies that helped create the Recession in the first place (getting rid of regulations that protect consumers and deal with economic risk). Cutting taxes for the rich and big business as Romney would do is a losing strategy since employers will not hire until consumer demand increases and consumer demand will not increase until the situation of the middle class and the poor improves. Obama understands this and he would invest in the middle class. President Obama wants to make it easier for kids from average families to get a college education while at this very moment Republicans like Romney are trying to DOUBLE the interest rate on student loans. Romney and the GOP and woefully out of touch with what middle class people need. OBAMA 2012

    April 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    At least they have Harvard in common. The BIG difference is that the president hasnto be smart and work fornit. The flip flopper on the other hand had daddy buy harvard for him.

    April 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Bean


    Are you related to Obama?? In 3.5 years he has doubled the insane deficits of Bush for the prior 8 years. We have had the slowest recovery in recorded history and Obama has shown not sign of wanting to make changes. When is Obama going to man up and accept responability for anything? Its not going to happen. On top of all that energy prices has risen faster than the Carter era and Obama is destined to be a fellow feckless one term President.

    April 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ thanks but no thanks

    You have EVERY right not to like Obama as I do the ones I don't like. But if you're going to dislike someone in politic for LYING then now way could you support Romney, Gingrinch, or Santorum. All three have been caught in untruths and half-truths. Heck Gingrinch called Romney a liar himself. And I don't support any three of them and it's not just for their habits of not being very truthful.

    April 10, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Dan

    If the congress rejects everything that Mitt tries to do, he too will struggle to right the ship. The past several years the tea party darlings have served notice that their number one objective is to unseat Obama. They have little regard to the economy.

    April 10, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. louise

    How could anyone figure out where Romney stands? He is all over the map on every issue. And what female in her right mind would ever consider voting for a republican any more? What happened to the moderate side of the Rethugs? Too much Rush and Fox influence................Obama has done a remarkable job considering the obstruction from the right and the shape our country was in.......People have a very short memory.....

    April 10, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    cali girl - My business is my business, and yes if you knew anything about a true Small business who makes a decent living but is no millionaire, then you don't understand that I pay 40%. I pay on a quarterly system, and it is equal to 40% on the Business
    Well then you're just going to LOVE what Obama and the Democrats are going to do to your business next year sweetie!
    And if you really are in California, you suffer at the hands of all the leftist looney tunes running that state into the ground with their astronomical tax rates. If you want ot keep more of your money maybe you should leave the state like so many others have done?

    And why are you complaining abount taxes anyways? It is all going to pay for the liberal tripe you advocate! Just work 10-20 hours more a week to make it up sweetie. Obama and Gerry Brown will send you a personal thank you note.

    April 10, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Irene

    If only by looking at photos and video alone, Mitt never, never comes off as spontaneous or charismatic. His mouth smiles too much as if to distract the steely meaness in his eyes. His chuckle is mean spirited, never a good belly laugh. His anecdotes are not credible and he's so stupid as to think it's funny that his, also non-nominated, father closed jobs in one state to move them over to another state. He really does get more and more obnoxious on getting to know him.

    April 10, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "@Democrat Class Warfare: Regular wages carry no risk? Ask some of the millions of people who lost their jobs in 08-09 if their regular wages carried "no risk". It could easily be argued that people who are dependent on regular wages are at the highest risk."

    Indeed. I can think of no higher risk situation than to be at the mercy of the 1% if it comes to deciding between Joe Middleclass and their wealth. They've almost got us where they want us though...almost.

    April 10, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. MaryM

    Obama-Biden 2012

    April 10, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    This phony "taxes need to be lower because investments are risky" line of manure is typical of how the GOBP cult mind tries to twist facts and history to their advantage. Traditionally, the return on investment for a given investment is designed to offset the potential risk. That is why subprime loans carry higher interest rates to offset potentially greater losses. The idea that tax policy should be injected into the private market pricing mechanisms leads one to wonder which Bizarro World the GOBP is living in now. It used to be they swooned at the mention of the private market, and now they claim tax policy favoring investors is needed because private (market) pricing doesn't work. It would be nice if you radical rightwing nutjobs could get your propaganda and lies straight before spewing it in public.

    April 10, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. Retired Army

    I wonder what people couple be thinking about when they believe that Romney would create more jobs than Obama.

    When Romney was governor of Mass, his state ranked 47th in the country in jobs growth....47th!

    And when he was in the 'corporate world', he did far more to eliminate jobs (and companies) than to create them.

    In essence, Romney has no track record AT ALL in jobs creation......NONE!

    On the other hand, we've had what.....25 straight months of jobs growth with Obama? And Romney is supposed to be the 'Jobs Guy'? Really?

    April 10, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. TexasCentrist

    Romney better equipped to handle the economy? You mean, gutting the EPA? Changing tax laws to further favor the rich? He gets way too much credit for his tenure at Bain Capital, where he robbed pension funds of companies they bought out. He won't say what he really believes evidenced by all of his flip-flopping. Yeah, we all change views sometimes on issues as we become more knowledgeable, but we don't change our core values so much. He's a spineless creep who is lusting to become president and will say anything to achieve it. Would you really vote for someone like that to be president?

    April 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    "In 3.5 years he has doubled the insane deficits of Bush for the prior 8 years."

    You mean by putting the Bush war costs on the books? Save your lies for the suckers you play; that manure ain't gonna fly here.

    April 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Four and the Door wrote:

    These are just some of the consumer products companies more readers here would be familiar with. There are many other companies in financial, industrial and healthcare businesses. But that was not my point. These are healthy, thriving businesses thanks to Bain Capital. Even so, everyone who works in these businesses is not collecting their 99 weeks of unemployment. They are all working at healthy companies. Good for them.
    Bain Capital is nothing more than an private exclusive investment bank. Would you call the CEO of Morgan Stanley or AIG a "job creator"? Nope. So are we calling Mitt Romney a "job creator". Most of those companies that you cite had most of the growth *after* they broke ties with Bain.

    All of the success had nothing to do with Bain at all. Mitt Romney claims to have "created 100,000 jobs while at Bain". When asked where are the jobs that *he* created, he replies, "Pres. Obama has made the economy worse."

    April 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Ambrose Smith

    The Tea Party has ruined if for the GOP's chances. They pulled Flip Floppoing Romney so far to the right that he will look like the ultimate FLIP FLOPPING ETCH A SKETCH when he tries to go the long journey to the middle. Voters won't buy it.

    Obama has this election wrapped up. Count on it.

    April 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    "a struggling family with two kids and a combined household income of $60,000 pays about 35%"
    Nice whopper, Sniffit.

    A family of 4 qualifies for 4 deductions @ about $10K each along with a standard deduction of almost $8K (provided they don't get more by itemizing), bringing the taxable amount down to $12K putting them into the 10% tax bracket, or a net tax due of $1200, equating to an effective tax rate of 2%. "The numbers don't lie".

    April 10, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. cali girl

    Real truth, good old California was run by Repubs who dug the deepest hole. 8 years of the actor.
    All those tax rates I was saying were put in while Bush was in office.
    My issue is with millionaires who are whining about don't make me pay more. Romney and the like at at 14%.
    Maybe you should have read the original post before you should correct me with your blah blah.

    April 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. jim

    This administration just committed 1.5 billion dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood. For all who are not aware, the Muslim Brotherhood is our enemy. Yes that's right, Washington is giving our tax dollars to people who want to destroy us.

    April 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Ricco

    @Wes Monroe- I respect that of you.. But what makes Mitt better?

    April 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. John

    IThis is tongue-in-cheek, but as to who creates jobs, they should have asked who would be better at ending them? Romney's overall average would soar.

    April 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    @The Real Truth and yada yada: "And if you really are in California, you suffer at the hands of all the leftist looney tunes running that state into the ground with their astronomical tax rates."

    What started driving California into the ground was when all the business owners started breaking the law by hiring illegal aliens (and laying off Americans making a living wage). The underpaid illegals turned to the State government for help, which has put a strain on the social services in Cali. Also, Prop 13, while great for retirees, has kept property taxes artificially low, which is a huge drain on revenue.

    April 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. TexasCentrist

    To Retired Arm:

    > OK CNN.....since when is 64% to 26% "a nearly 2-to-1 advantage"?

    You are right, it's actually about 2.46 to 1. I guess it's "nearly" in the downward direction. 🙂

    April 10, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    This poll must have been taken with the people who collect welfare without even a high school education. Or even better for those college graduates that are still living with mom/dad. Where are they going to go when mom/dad passes away! I know! On the the Obama plan. If anyone goes to the Obama fundraiser at Mike/Denise Illitches place and spends $40,000 to get a picture with this nit wit please send it to me so I can use for target practice! There are some really stupid people in the good old USA!

    April 10, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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