Poll: Obama tops Romney overall, but trails on economy

If the presidential election were held today President Obama would beat Mitt Romney, according to a new poll, but the survey also holds troubling signs for the incumbent on the economy.

The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 49 percent of registered voters would vote for Obama compared to 43 percent who would vote for Romney. The poll's findings are slightly up for Obama compared to June, when 47 percent said they would vote for him with 44 percent backing Romney. 

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But the poll also held some good news for Romney’s campaign. Sixty-percent of those surveyed said the country is going in the wrong direction, while 32 percent said it's headed in the right direction. In June, the poll found 61 percent said the country is on the wrong track while 31 percent said it is on the right track. 

On the economy, which Romney has made the central issue of the campaign, 53 percent said they disapproved of the job Obama is doing while 44 percent said they approved. Those numbers have stayed roughly the same since late 2011 when the poll found, in December, that 57 percent disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy and 39 percent approved. 

Romney leads Obama 43-36 percent on who is best equipped to manage the economic recovery.

But Obama’s efforts to paint Romney as out-of-touch appear to be working. The poll found more Americans say that Obama has the values that they identify with compared to Mitt Romney. 

According to The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, released Tuesday, 50 percent of Americans say that Obama has the background and values they identify with compared to 42 percent who say they relate more to Romney. 

Those numbers are slightly up for Obama compared to the last time the question was asked in May, when WSJ/NBC News poll found 48 percent of Americans identified with Obama's background and set of values, versus 46 percent who said he did not share their values. 

In the latest poll, 47 percent surveyed said Obama does not share a similar background and values. Fifty-two percent said Romney does not share the same background and values. The July poll was the first time the question was included for Romney. 

Overall, both candidates have serious negatives, however, amplified by the slew of attack ads run by both campaigns. 

The poll found roughly four in ten voters have felt less favorably about either candidate over the past few weeks of negative campaigning. Bill McInturff, one of the pollsters who conducts the survey, said that finding is unprecedented. 

"We have two candidates who are in deep, double-digit negatives," McInturff said according to the Journal. "There is no precedent for that in the modern era."

Lastly, the poll found an uptick in enthusiasm for the November vote compared to previous elections. In the July poll, 51 percent said they were more enthusiastic about this election while 32 percent said they were less enthusiastic. In June, the poll found 47 percent felt more enthusiastic while 36 percent felt less enthusiastic. 

The poll was conducted nationwide through telephone interviews. One thousand adults were surveyed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.