Poll: Romney, Obama running neck and neck among likely voters

A new poll shows President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney running neck and neck among likely voters after the party conventions and with less than two months until Election Day.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday shows Obama with 49 percent support to Romney’s 48 among likely voters, a 2-point boost for Obama and a 1-point bump for Romney since the same poll last month.

The poll comes amid a slew of surveys showing Obama with a post-convention bounce of 5 points in Gallup's and Rasmussen’s polls and a 6-point edge in a CNN/ORC survey.

ADVERTISEMENT
But while Obama and Romney are in a virtual dead heat among likely voters in the Post/ABC survey, the poll finds the president 6 points ahead of Romney among registered voters surveyed at 50 percent to 44, his best showing since early April. Before the conventions, the same poll found Romney with a 47-46 edge over Obama among those registered.

The poll also finds Obama with a decisive edge on key issues. Asked to compare the candidates on a number of issues, the poll finds Obama has a significant lead on eight topics, with Romney favored on none.

Obama is now in the lead on the economy, with voters saying he would better handle the issue over Romney by 47 to 45 percent. Last month, Romney held a 50-43 lead on managing the economy.


Obama still holds the edge on personal attributes, with registered voters saying he understands their economic problems better than Romney by 50 to 40 percent. Obama is also rated more likable by a commanding 61 to 27 percent. 

Fifty-two percent would rather have dinner at home with Obama than Romney (33). Fifty percent also say Obama would make a more “loyal friend” than Romney, at 26.

Obama is also seen as a stronger leader, by 50 percent to Romney’s 42, and voters say he would be better able to work across the aisle in Congress by 46 to 41.

But the poll also holds a troubling sign: Fewer than half, 48 percent, approve of Obama’s job performance and 43 percent say the economy has gotten worse under him, to 32 percent who say it has improved.

Fifty-three percent of registered voters disapprove of how Obama has handled the economy, with 45 percent approving. Of those who disapprove of his handling of the economy, 82 percent said the president had implemented the wrong policies versus 13 percent who said he needed more time to right the recovery.

Romney faces his own challenges, with registered voters saying he has failed to present enough specifics on his policy proposals. By 63 to 31 percent, voters say Romney should provide more details on what he would do as president. Forty-six percent say Obama has shared enough policy specifics to 49 percent wanting more. 

Republicans made the question of whether voters were better off than they were four years ago a central theme of their messaging during the Democratic convention. The new poll finds 20 percent of registered voters say they are better off than when Obama assumed office, with 47 percent saying they are the same and 32 percent seeing themselves as not better off.

But registered voters are not convinced they would be in better financial shape if Romney had been in office the last four years. Twenty-four percent say they would have been better off under a Romney administration to 28 percent who say they would not have been as well off. Thirty-eight percent say they would be the same. 

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted from Sept. 7 to 9 and has a 4-point margin of error.