Poll: Presidential race tied, but Romney holds edge on economy

A new poll shows Mitt Romney and President Obama deadlocked, but with the GOP challenger leading on voters’ key concern: the economy.

Romney and Obama are tied, with each taking support from 47 percent of registered voters in the new national poll from The Washington Post and ABC News, released late Monday.

But more people disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy than approve, a troubling sign for the Obama campaign on the heels of two months of weak jobs data. The poll finds that 54 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 44 percent approve.

{mosads}The economy is expected to be the key factor in the election, with 53 percent in the poll rating it “an extremely important decision,” a larger percentage than on any other issue polled.

Asked whom voters trusted “to do a better job handling the economy,” Romney earned 49 percent compared to Obama’s 44. Romney also leads on a question about handling the federal deficit, 52 percent to 42.

But when asked who “understands” the economic problems of the country, Obama beats Romney. The poll found 50 percent of those asked picked Obama, over Romney’s 40 percent. 

The president’s campaign has hit Romney hard on his record as CEO of private-equity firm Bain Capital and personal finances, trying to paint him as out of touch with middle-class voters. But the poll found that Romney’s past work buying and restructuring companies was not a major factor to the voting decision of 50 percent surveyed.

Most also think Obama has presented a clearer plan for tackling the economy than Romney, at 43 percent to 38.

Romney and Obama were tied among voters asked who would better handle healthcare, immigration and tax policies. But Obama takes the lead on appointing Supreme Court justices, leading Romney 48 percent to 37.

Overall, most of those surveyed felt strongly about for whom they plan to vote in November, and enthusiasm among Romney’s supporters seems to have increased since the Supreme Court ruled the healthcare reform legislation constitutional. Romney has promised to repeal the bill as president. 

The ruling has stirred up supporters on both sides, giving a boost to fundraising.

Real Clear Politics’s average poll tracking finds Obama still has a very narrow lead overall in recent national polls.

The margin of error in the Post/ABC poll, which was conducted from July 5 to 8, was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. 

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