Poll finds Obama tops Romney on foreign policy, economy

A new poll finds President Obama overtaking GOP contender Mitt Romney on the economy, despite continuing weak jobs reports, and holding a decisive edge on foreign policy.

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows Obama leading Romney overall by 3 points, with 49 percent support among likely voters to 46 for the GOP nominee.  But on two key issues that have dominated the presidential race this month, Obama holds the edge. 

Forty-seven percent of likely voters say Obama would do a better job handling the economy to 46 for Romney. 

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When asked which candidate would do more to help middle-class Americans, respondents picked Obama over Romney by 54 to 40 percent. 

But Obama is still underwater on his economic policies, with 51 percent expressing disapproval and 43 approval.

On foreign policy, Obama holds a larger edge over his Republican challenger. Forty-nine percent say the president would do better on foreign policy than Romney at 39.

The poll, though, was largely taken before the recent turmoil in the Middle East, which saw four American diplomats killed in Libya in what some lawmakers suggest was a targeted attack from Islamic militants. 


U.S. and western embassies throughout the region have faced a wave of violent protests sparked by an amateur online video critical of Islam.

Overall 50 percent say they approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, with 36 percent disapproving.

More voters express confidence in the president’s ability to handle an international crisis than Romney. Sixty-five percent surveyed said they had “a lot” or “some” confidence in Obama’s ability to handle a foreign policy crisis to 34 percent who had “little” or no trust. For Romney 58 percent said they had confidence to 37 percent without.

Romney’s campaign has used the recent attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the ongoing protests at embassies to accuse the Obama administration of weakness on Middle East policy. 

Democrats, though, have criticized Romney, charging him with politicizing the deaths of American diplomats. 

The New York Times/CBS News poll was conducted from Sept. 8 to 12 and has a 3-point margin of error.