President Obama has widened his lead to 7 percentage points over Mitt Romney nationally, according to a Pew Research survey released on Thursday.

Obama took 50 percent in the poll, compared to Romney, at 43 percent. Obama led by 4 percentage points, 50 to 46, in the same poll from June.


Despite recent poor economic news, Romney has been unable to capitalize on the question of who is better equipped to handle jobs and the economy. The former Massachusetts governor has staked his campaign on arguing that his experience in the private sector makes him better equipped to handle the economy, and has blamed sluggish economic growth on what he says are Obama’s failed economic policies.

The economy added only 80,000 jobs in June, below the forecasts of most economists, and the unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent.

But according to Pew, Romney is losing ground on these fronts. Obama leads Romney 48 to 42 percent on who would be better for the economy – a 14-point swing from June, when Romney led by 8 on that issue.

Obama also leads Romney 46 to 42 percent on the question of who will do better in improving the job situation. The only issue where Romney polled better than Obama was on reducing the deficit, where Romney has a sizable lead of 50 to 36 percent.

Romney also suffers from an enthusiasm gap — something that plagued him throughout the Republican primaries — with only 34 percent of his supporters saying they support him strongly, compared to 64 percent for Obama.

The Pew poll of 2,373 voters was conducted from June 28-July 9.