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. RedMan/RedCity/RedState

    A CNN poll, sponsored and paid for by NBC and MSNBC? Nooooooo, you're kidding me right? This one should have appeared on April 01. Who actually conducted the poll, Keith Olberman or Bill Maher?

    April 16, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. eltrip

    We have to be deluged with this crap for 6 more months?

    April 16, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. PhilG

    Will still be a close election. But Mitt is in a very difficult spot – please his base or appeal to the vast majority of Americans. He's flip flopped on so many issues, that no one knows where he stands on anything. He's not a good candidate and the Republicans know it. They're busy planning for 2016.

    April 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. LEE

    I think the love affair with Obama is over.

    April 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. JD

    GO OBAMA! We were behind you before and we are still behind you 100%.

    April 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Michael Siever

    CNN Poll shows Obama has lead over Romney. Could it be any less biased?

    April 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Jerry5555

    That's funny, because I just read a gallup poll that was published today that had Romney 47% and Obama 45%. Also, I love how CNN has this as "Breaking News!" CNN is an utter joke – maybe that's why it's last in ratings. Even left wing comedian Jon Stewart makes fun of CNN for their obvious bias.

    April 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. rastaman44

    To those who wish thto cite the Rasmussen and Fox polls( two right wing outlets)as showing Romney in a minscule lead, , there is the 7 point lead for Obama in the ABC-Washington Post; 8 point lead in the CBS-NYT poll.

    Those polls deals with registered voters, so what do you have to say now, huh, teatards?

    April 16, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. jon

    CNN poll anyone doesn't know they are in the tank for Obama

    April 16, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Bogus

    Funny...cnn has the only poll showing obama leading Romney. Cnn is a joke! Get a life liberals!!

    April 16, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Robert

    Somebody please tap me on the shoulder November 5th so I can take my earplugs and blinders off. Both sides, Both parties are a total JOKE and anyone fighting for either side is a fluffy sheep. FACT

    April 16, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Prosperid

    FUNNY HOW MANY GOPers are into a "LIBERAL NEWS SOURCE" like CNN. Go back to Fox since manure smells better.
    Also, funny how most of you GOPers were not crying foul play with the ORC/INTERNATIONAL POLL when they showed low approval ratings for OBAMA in late 2011. Don't worry OBAMA 2012!

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

    I don't trust CNN poll. No way Obama over Mitt. Obama is the worst president ever. This the fact. He is like con man--promise and cheat.

    April 16, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Not Fat

    The GOP hates Americans and Americans finally hate the GOP.

    April 16, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. BooBoo65

    CNN's bubble is going to burst in 2012! I will be watching all the sad faces of the commentators as they try to cover them up and look nonpartisan during election results. It's going to be fun!

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

    How bout we put an end to these useless stupid polls? All they do i get people to bandwagon without knowing anyones positions or platforms.

    I have an 80% poll that i'll be hungry in 30 minutes. Wanna see my facebook status so I can get some thumbs up on that too? Ignorance is bliss america.

    April 16, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. auggie

    if you want government hand outs, vote for Obama. if you are independent and a hard worker, you will vote for Romney–simple as that.

    April 16, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Jim

    Romney is a multi-national corporation posing as a human being.

    No wonder he can't connect with the American people.

    April 16, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. hmmm

    To bad this could be the last term

    April 16, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. OGR99

    I don't need someone who is 'in touch' with me. I need someone who is successful in managing money.

    We've tried the Community Organizer. In spite of his best intentions, he has failed.

    April 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. dscon

    the same people bashing this poll would defend a gop outcome.
    and vice-versa libtard.

    April 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Peter Peirce

    Way to go CNN. Good job shaping politics by ignoring third parties. Of course there was no mention of Gary Johnson as the libertarian candidate running against Romney and Obama in this poll, even though he's been polling at 7% against them in other polls. Of course the only reason to not include him would be to prevent people from hearing his viewpoints. Why would you want people to think this is a two man race, when there's a third party candidate who will pose a serious threat to Obamney? You want to know why? Because CNN doesn't want people to know Gary Johnson exists. CNN, and MSNBC, and Fox News, they're terrified that Johnson could poll 15% nationally and be allowed to debate against Obamney in the fall, so they keep him out of their polls so they won't have to cede power to a third party. The mainstream media is scared, and they're doing everything they can to keep control of the political world.

    April 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Oodoodanoo

    Great, but let's not get complacent, folks. It's still 6 months away, and the enemy is the Party of Lies, after all.

    April 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Cat401

    4 More

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    April 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Ernie Zippreplat

    The only poll the Obama is leading is CNN, that makes them even a bigger laughing stock!

    April 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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