By Ramsey Cox - 12/19/11 10:15 AM EST
President Obama will be a one-term president, said nearly half of registered voters polled by The Hill.
While 46 percent of likely voters predicted Obama will lose next year, 41 percent said he will win, a narrow margin just outside the poll’s margin of error that reflects the public’s split opinion about the president. The remaining 13 percent were unsure.
When it comes to grading his first term, 51 percent of polled voters said Obama was either a failure (37 percent) or not very successful (14 percent), while 48 percent said he was either very successful (16 percent) or somewhat successful (32 percent).
But that scenario looks unlikely, as a majority (54 percent) of independents think his first-term performance has been unsuccessful (18 percent said it has not been very successful and 36 percent said it has been a failure).
The president still has strong support from black voters and women: Seventy-nine percent of blacks said he’ll be reelected and 94 percent said he’s been successful during his first term. While 55 percent of men said Obama’s first term wasn’t successful, 52 percent of women said it had been a success.
Obama’s low approval numbers in polls have often been attributed to the terrible economy and lack of promised growth, and voters in the poll confirmed that they look to the president for leadership on that score.
An overwhelming 92 percent of likely voters said the choice of president is important in determining the country’s economic strength (66 percent said it is very important and 26 percent called it somewhat important), yet the middle class isn’t as concerned as are the poor and wealthy.
Three-fourths of those earning less than $20,000 per year said the choice of president is “very important” to economic strength and 67 percent of those earning more than $100,000 agreed. But only 55 percent of those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 said the same.
That probably won’t help Obama, whose campaign has been going after middle-class voters by painting Republicans as a party out to destroy the middle class.
Eighty-nine percent of likely voters are paying attention to the 2012 presidential race, with 58 percent giving it “a lot” of attention.
Older voters are slightly more inclined to be paying more attention than younger voters. Eighty-five percent of those between the ages of 18 and 39 said they are paying attention, compared to 92 percent of those between 40 and 64, and 93 percent of those aged 65 and older.
The youngest demographic was split on whether Obama will get a second term, with 45 percent saying he will not and 45 percent saying he will. In 2008, Obama greatly relied on the support of young people — a group whose voting turnout had been inconsistent in the past.
Another age divide was seen when likely voters were asked if America’s best days are ahead or behind it. Overall, it was a dead heat, with 40 percent saying the nation’s best days are in the future, 41 percent saying they’re in the past and 19 percent unsure, but older people were less optimistic. Forty-five percent of 40-to-64-year-olds said America’s best days are in the past. Conversely, 42 percent of those between 18 and 39 said the best days are still ahead.
Pulse Opinion Research conducted The Hill Poll on Dec. 15. Pulse surveyed 1,000 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.