Poll: Obama holds small lead nationally

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Obama leads Romney 46 percent to 43, and, as has been the case throughout the year, each candidate holds massive leads among specific constituencies, which has balanced the race nationally.

Obama leads big among unmarried voters in the poll, 54-34, while Romney leads Obama 51-38 among married voters.

“Although much has been made about the gender gap and how President Barack Obama’s lead among women fuels his campaign, the marriage gap is actually larger and more telling,” said assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Peter A. Brown in a statement. “Married people are more likely to be older, more financially secure and more socially conservative than unmarried voters. The married column includes more Republicans and more white voters. Married voters are more likely to focus on the economy and healthcare, while single voters are more focused on issues such as gay rights and reproductive issues.”

Still, the gender gap persists, with Obama’s massive lead among women boosting him to his slightly stronger showing overall. The president leads Romney 51-39 among women, while Romney leads 47-40 among men.

Both Obama and Romney have negative favorability ratings, with 45 percent saying they have a positive view of the president versus 48 who said negative. Romney is viewed favorably by 37 percent against 41 who view him negatively.

Romney has banked his campaign on voters holding Obama responsible for the weak economy, and there are signs the strategy will work — 55 percent said they disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, versus 40 who approve.

But Romney still has to make the case that he’s the right candidate to take over — voters are split 45-46 over who is better equipped to steer the economy.

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