On a number of specific characteristics such as honesty and decisiveness, Obama leads Romney, the poll also found. For example, 48 percent said the description "honest and trustworthy" applies more to Obama than Romney. Thirty-six percent said that characteristic applied more to Romney.


While Obama leads Romney in every category in the poll, he only leads by single digits on who Americans think best deserve the following descriptions: "is a strong and decisive leader," "would work well with both parties to get things done in Washington" and "can manage the government effectively." Obama leads Romney on the "strong and decisive" characteristic, 47 percent to 42, and on working well with both parties by 45 percent to 40 percent. On "managing the government effectively," Obama lead by only 1 percent, 45 percent to 44 percent.

Obama has in general polled well on personal likability throughout his time in office, even as other approval numbers — especially on the economy — have wavered.

The poll was conducted Aug. 20-22 among a random sample of 1,033 adults. It had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.