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Obama Edges Romney in POLITICO-GW Battleground Poll
Voter enthusiasm is high across party lines in national survey.
September 24, 2012
With 43 days to go until Election Day, President Barack Obama leads Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney among voters at 50 percent to 47 percent, according to a new POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll released today.
This is an incremental change since the August and May Battleground Polls showed the two candidates statistically tied at 48 and 47 percent.
"This poll comes after three bad events for Romney: the Democratic convention, the premature reaction to the attack on the Embassy in Cairo and the release of his remarks about 47 percent of Americans," said Christopher Arterton, GW professor of political management. "We're in the ninth inning and Romney’s three strikes make one out with only two more to go."
According to the poll, 80 percent of Americans say they are extremely likely to vote, with 84 percent saying they would not consider changing their vote for the other candidate—a slight jump from August, when 75 percent said they would not change their vote. Regardless for whom individuals plan to vote, 60 percent believe that Obama will win.
Voters surveyed had a 53 percent favorable and 45 percent unfavorable impression of Obama, compared with 46 percent favorable and a 49 percent unfavorable for Romney. When voters were asked to rate Obama’s performance, the president received 50 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval.
“The window to recast perceptions of the two parties and the candidates is rapidly closing,” said Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners. “Fully 60 percent of voters predict an Obama victory, and since May, Democratic enthusiasm has vaulted, eclipsing that of Republicans. Today, 81 percent of Democrats are extremely likely to vote—up 12 points since May—compared to 78 percent of Republicans. With Obama now leading with 50 percent of the vote, personally popular and boasting above-water job performance ratings for the first time in a year and even better in toss-up states, the Romney campaign—forced to promote one of the least popular candidates in modern history—is once again in need of a re-re-boot.”
While voters continue to say the economy is the most important issue, they are divided on who would better handle this issue, with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent. The issue of jobs is also tied at 48 percent. Romney leads on the federal budget and spending (50 percent to 45 percent), and Obama leads on standing up for the middle class (57 to 39 percent).
“The latest Battleground Poll continues to show a close race, but Obama continues to run with strong negatives on his job performance on jobs, the economy and spending,” said Ed Goeas, Republican pollster and president/CEO of The Tarrance Group. “With those high disapproval ratings it is no surprise he is losing by nine points with the two thirds of the electorate that is focused on pocketbook issues and by 14 points with middle class families that comprise an overwhelming majority of voters."
Although three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate are planned in the next few weeks, 38 percent of voters said these debates were not important to their decision, and only 11 percent of voters said the debates are extremely important. However, 49 percent of voters plan to watch all of the debates.
The POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll is a nationally recognized series of surveys conducted by Republican pollster Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. The George Washington University Global Media Institute, affiliated with the Graduate School of Political Management and the School of Media and Public Affairs, serves as the university’s home for the partnership. George Washington’s Gelman Library houses the data archive of the survey results dating back more than two decades.
The poll, which is distinguished from other surveys by its presentation of separate analyses from top pollsters representing both sides of the aisle, surveyed 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide Sept. 16 through Sept. 20, including a protocol for reaching mobile phone users, and yielded a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
Click here for further analyses of these issues and full results.