President Barack Obama holds a commanding lead over Mitt Romney on campaign issues like world affairs and health care, a poll showed Tuesday, but trails the Republican frontrunner on one key front: handling the US economy.
Obama enjoys double-digit advantages on women’s issues, protecting the middle class, likeability, and better understanding the economic challenges of the average American, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll, which had Obama winning 51 percent to 44 percent if the election were being held today.
But the survey of 1,103 adults shows that voters, by more than three to one, still see the US economy in a recession, and such pessimism could leave Obama vulnerable in the November election if he is perceived as being unable to turn the country around.
Romney’s lead in the protracted Republican nominations race is now nearly unassailable, and the general election is shaping up to be a battle between him and Obama, who is seeking a second term.
Romney is ahead or within the poll’s 3.5-percent margin of error on some pressing economic issues that will be front and center in the election.
On handling the economy, Romney leads 47 percent to 43 percent. Romney’s lead on handling the federal budget deficit is a more substantial 51-38, while on the matter of creating jobs, Obama nips his rival 46-43.
The president remains well ahead in a range of issues, especially personal traits, with respondents giving him a more than 2-1 advantage on friendliness and likeability.
Romney has a troubling deficit among women voters, with the poll showing Obama trouncing Romney on women’s issues 53-34 percent.
But Obama draws negative marks for his acumen on the economy, with nearly half of respondents (46 percent) saying it’s a reason to oppose his reelection, compared to 32 percent saying it’s a reason to support him.
With less than seven months before the election, the US economy is only slowly pulling out of its worst recession in decades.
The unemployment rate this week dropped to 8.2 percent, a three-year low, but the economy generated just 120,000 new jobs last month, fewer than the 200,000 expected by many economists.