CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney
April 16th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Gender gap and likeability keep Obama over Romney

(CNN) - President Barack Obama holds a nine-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney thanks in part to the perception that the president is more likeable and more in touch with the problems facing women and middle class Americans, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday also indicates a large gender gap that benefits Obama, but the public is divided on which candidate can best jump-start the economy.

Full poll (pdf)

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According to the poll, 52% of registered voters say if the presidential election were held today, they would vote for the president, with 43% saying they would cast a ballot for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is making his second bid for the White House. The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, a few days after former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his bid for the GOP nomination. Even though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continue their long-shot bids for the nomination, Romney is now generally considered the presumptive nominee.

The survey indicates women voters back Obama over Romney by 16 points (55%-39%), virtually unchanged from an 18-point advantage among women for the president in CNN polling last month.

The poll was conducted two days after Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen created a controversy by saying that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life."

"That remark may have little long-term effect on women voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "By a two-to-one margin, the women surveyed saw President Obama as more in touch with the problems facing American women today."

Half of those questioned say that Obama is more likely to stand up for what he believes, with only 29% saying that about Romney. Nearly half say that Romney is more likely to change his position on the issues for political reasons, just 39% saying the same thing about the president. Obama has double-digit leads over Romney on likeability, honesty, confidence, values, leadership and almost every other characteristic tested, with one important exception.

"Obama and Romney are essentially tied on who is more likely to get the economy moving again, and that may provide Romney an opening to chip away at Obama's current overall lead," says Holland.

According to the poll, Obama holds a 48%-43% margin over Romney among crucial independent voters. The survey also indicates s generation gap, with all age groups, except those 65 and older, backing Obama. And the poll points to an income divide, with the president holding a 20-point lead over Romney among those earning less than $50,000 per year, while those making more than that figure divided between the two candidates.

Obama's likeability and strong performance on personal characteristics helps explain why three-quarters of his supporters questioned say their vote will be a vote for Obama, not a vote against his opponent. By contrast, more than six in ten Romney supporters say their choice will be mostly be a vote against Obama.

"That's a significantly higher level of anti-incumbent voting than polls found in previous years. In 2004, for example, 55% of Democratic nominee John Kerry's supporters said their choice of Kerry was really a vote against President George W. Bush. The question for 2012 is whether Romney has to provide his supporters with more reasons to vote for him in order to win, or whether a negative anti-Obama message is enough, given that historically high level of anti-incumbent voting," adds Holland.

Two-thirds say they have made up their minds, with just 29% saying they could change their minds between now and November. As for handicapping the election, right now Americans don't think Romney has a good chance of winning the White House. Only 35% said Romney will be victorious in November.

"That is certainly not a prediction of what will happen, of course, but it is worth noting that in the last four presidential elections, the public was able to correctly pick the winner in polls taken in the spring or early summer," adds Holland.

Even though Santorum is out of the race for the White House and Romney is the all but certain nominee, the battle for the GOP nomination technically continues. According to the survey, 57% of Republicans say that Romney is their choice for the GOP nominee, with 19% backing Gingrich and 18% supporting Paul.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International April 13-15, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 910 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Also see:

Obama re-election team increases fundraising haul

Buffett Rule would barely dent debt but fits nicely into Obama's theme

McCain: I agree with Ann Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (743 Responses)
  1. lkottis

    so what? You can see where all the "likability" and "in-touchy-ness" has gotten us over the last 3 years. He is an incompetent president and has ruined our economic present and future. Give me a successful man any day. We are not voting for Grandmother of the Year.

    April 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. MDCH

    Gallup has Romney up 2 and Rasmussen has Romney up 3...maybe CNN should expand their polling group beyond the DNC.

    April 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Tr1Xen

    There's plenty of time between now and November, folks. Just wait until the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.... Oh, and yeah–the gas prices–thanks to our dependency on foreign oil and Dems' refusal to drill domestically. Wouldn't want to risk harming any cute little animals, would we? Let's all pay five bucks per gallon for gasoline instead!

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Spencer

    Obama's already had his 4 years to "make a difference." It's time to move over.

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. anon

    Both Gallup and Rasmussen have the race as much, much tighter than this slop that CNN hails as objective. And keep in mind, Gallup and Rasmussen had Obama leading back in '08, so it's not exactly like they're right-wing rags. All this does is provide more fuel for the alarming number of people who are naive enough to think that CNN is the "objective alternative". Please. There is no truly objective source, it's human nature to have bias. Educate yourselves...Don't just take one poll as fact.

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Susan

    Obama and Romney are 2 poorest choices for this country. We can't have 4 more years of "Nothing" with Obama. Mitt has no connection with the reality of the every day.Mitt wants the white house to cahs in corperate filthy rich. Newt is the only candiate to kick Obama out of office. Obama is a ticking debt president.

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. comradbill

    its the only poll showing him with a lead.

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Jase

    Hahahahaha the poll on NBC yahoo and MSN have Romney at 47% while obama is at 45%. CNN is the most bias network on the web

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. ktown8

    Amazing that Obama has done such a horrible job, lied, and made false promises, yet people still would vote for him. I guess the class and race warfare is paying off since he surely can't run on his economic, job, or deficit success.

    April 16, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. jackie treehorn

    romney is going to mop the floor with the community organizer... jimmy carter was up 15 pts in the polls a week before the election... (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 16, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. adam

    This is just in, CNN has confirmed that President Obama has won second term after a massive win over the GOP light weight Romney. What a bulletin!

    April 16, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. ritzbits

    ROFLMAO people actually believe this

    April 16, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Saboth

    Only 9 points? I figure it should be more like 19. Honestly, there's not a huge difference between the 2 of them, but I'd rather Obama be in office than a 1% job outsourcer that thinks mentioning he likes grits means he can relate to my problems in any way, shape or form. MORE tax breaks for the rich? How much more does their wealth need to grow before they decide to start paying their employees more and pay their fair share in taxes?

    April 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Prosperid

    Many of you folks know very well that the Rasmussen poll is leans toward Faux News media. You know what the results will be if Faux News & MSNBC have there recommended polls. So what is the party split for Rasmussen & the Gallup? What is the gender split? What is the ethnical split? These things vary. STICK TO FAUX NEWS IF YOU THINK
    CNN IS BIAS.....oh and by the way....I bet none of you will bet $$$$$$$$$$ that Romney will beat Obama.

    April 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Capt D

    A Communist News Network poll favors Obama??? Go figure.

    April 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. pollsajoke

    Rasmussen, Gallup, and even Fox have Romney up at this point. CNN is pathetic in this effort to cover for the President. Fox and Gallup are very close and Rasmussen has a four or five point advantage for Romeny. CNN just loses all validity with a nine point lead for the President. Obviously, a long way before election so polls are of little value. It is just laughable how absurd CNN is in this poll. They have padded the numbers with way too many democrats to encourage a shrinking audience with "Breaking News" no less, that Obama is on his way to a landslide. Incredible....

    April 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Kimberly

    I have a feeling it will be a 13 point lead by November, and I think he will crush mittens

    April 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. Capt D

    I'd rather vote for bellybutton lint than Obama,... and I am not alone in this.

    April 16, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. downinfront

    Really? Mittens not doing so well? ...shocker.

    April 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Schitzngiggles

    Wow, how could anyone want him to stay in office? When you talk about condescending Obama does that to everyone not just women. Don't get me wrong I think that they all need to go and that we should have term limits for Congress. None of these guys even pretend to be public servants, they walk around like they are the priveledged few always pointing the finger at someone else. We need Judge Joe Brown to run for office and teach these clowns to "man up!" As long as the Sheeple on both sides keep following their focks nothing can change!

    April 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. joe doh

    this man is the worst type of man this country could ever think of electing ! the little man from massachusetts and his bain capital cronnies belong in jail, not on a ballot. but then again look at the freaks that elected george bush twice.

    April 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Mark

    It's still only April. Polls don't mean too much right now; there are six months until the election. It's the polls in September and October that really matter and give us an idea about the outcome. Let's report the news, not unimportant stuff like this right now.

    April 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. BooBoo65

    CNN usually only tells you polls Obama is ahead. There were several last week with Obama behind. Also when you count polls of likely voters against polls of registered voters, Obama always does worse but "likely voter" polls aren't done as much since they are more expensive.

    April 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. sparky

    Repuke crying will be music to me ears in November!

    April 16, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. Petardo

    I'm truly shocked! Only 9%???

    April 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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