Obama leads Romney in Pew poll

Thursday, September 20, 2012
U.S. President Barack Obama
Washington: At the current stage in the campaign Barack Obama is in a strong position compared with past victorious presidential candidates, a latest national survey by the Pew Research Center claimed.

With an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters, Obama holds a bigger September lead than the last three candidates who went on to win in November, including Obama four years ago. In elections since 1988, only Bill Clinton, in 1992 and 1996, entered the fall with a larger advantage.

Not only does Obama enjoy a substantial lead in the horserace, he tops Romney on a number of key dimensions. His support is stronger than his rival’s, and is positive rather than negative.

Mitt Romney’s backers are more ardent than they were pre-convention, but are still not as enthusiastic as Obama’s. Roughly half of Romney’s supporters say they are voting against Obama rather than for the Republican nominee. With the exception of Bill Clinton in 1992, candidates lacking mostly positive backing have lost in November.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted September 12-16, 2012 among 3,019 adults including 2,424 registered voters, finds that Obama continues to be the more likable candidate by a substantial margin; his favorability rating has risen to 55% from 50% in late July, with 42% now expressing an unfavorable view of him.

As per survey, Romney’s favorability also has risen, from 37% in July to 45% currently. But more (50%) continue to view Romney unfavorably. No previous presidential candidate has been viewed more unfavorably than favorably at this point in a presidential campaign in Pew Research or Gallup September surveys going back to 1988.

Survey claimed that Romney has gained no ground on Obama in being seen as more credible or more empathetic, and Obama now leads Romney by nearly three-to-one (66% to 23%) as the candidate who connects well with ordinary Americans – an even wider margin than in June.

With the exception of jobs and the deficit, on which voter opinion is about evenly divided, Obama leads Romney on most key issues, notably healthcare, Medicare, and abortion.

Despite these gloomy opinions, the economy has not turned into a clear advantage for Romney. Almost the same number express confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it comes to fixing the economy (52%); as say the same about Romney (49%).

But the focus on economic issues may benefit Romney among swing voters. Roughly one-in-five voters (22%) are not fully committed to a candidate at this point in the race, and Romney leads Obama by significant margins among these voters as better able to improve the job situation and balance the budget deficit.

The survey finds that overall patterns of voter support for Obama and Romney have changed little over the course of the campaign. Obama holds a 56% to 37% lead among women registered voters, but only runs about even among men (47% Romney, 46% Obama). Voters younger than 30 continue to support Obama by a wide margin (59% to 33%). Voters 30 to 49 favor Obama by a 52% to 41% margin; older voters are more evenly divided.

Romney draws broad support from white evangelical Protestants. Race and ethnicity remain key correlates of candidate support: 92% of black voters support Obama, as do 69% of Latinos, compared with 43% of white non-Hispanics. Among whites, Romney runs better among white men and white working class voters than among women and white college graduates.

Notably, the survey has conducted amid an outbreak of violence in the Middle East and shortly after the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, shows that Obama has a wide edge when it comes to foreign affairs and national security. Far more voters see Obama as a strong leader and as the candidate voters believe would use good judgment in a crisis. Voters also express more confidence in Obama than Romney to deal with foreign policy generally, as well as problems in the Middle East.
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