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POLITICO-GW Battleground Poll Shows Little Change
August 13, 2012
Latest results of national survey shows economy remains the most important issue for voters.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama remain essentially tied among voters at 47 percent and 48 percent respectively, according to a new POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll released today.
The poll captured voter beliefs only 36 hours before Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate.
“Despite millions of advertising dollars spent by both sides, very little has changed in the overall presidential race during the three months since the last Battleground Poll,” said Christopher Arterton, GW professor of political management.
According to the poll, the most significant change in the last three months is that both parties are now equally solidified behind their candidate with 90 percent voting for their nominee.
The economy still remains the most important issue to voters, with 28 percent stating it is a recession, 13 percent saying the nation is approaching a recession and 24 percent describing the economy as not moving. When asked to look three months ahead, 34 percent of voters believe the national economy will not improve. Looking ahead to the next generation, 53 percent strongly believe that the next generation will be worse off economically than the current generation.
When asked which candidate will better handle the economy overall, voters favored Romney over Obama 49 percent to 44 percent. Romney is also leading Obama on jobs (50 percent to 44 percent) and ability to get things done (47 percent to 41 percent). The two candidates are tied on taxes at 47 percent. However, Obama leads on foreign policy (54 percent to 39 percent) and standing up for the middle class (54 percent to 40 percent).
“Voters will be taking the measure of both presidential nominees over these next three months,” said Ed Goeas, Republican pollster and president/CEO of the Tarrance Group. “The challenge facing President Obama will be that many voters have judged his policies to be failures, and voters may well decide that they want to move forward with the ideas of someone else.”
The American public also revealed different voting motivations. Of those planning to vote for Romney, 52 percent say they are voting against Obama and only 39 percent say they are voting for Romney. Meanwhile, of those who plan to vote for Obama, 77 percent say they are voting for him rather than against Romney at 18 percent.
“The Paul Ryan pick can be explained by Romney’s weakness,” said Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster and president of Lake Research Partners. “His personal negatives are up to the highest of any Republican nominee in recent history. Enthusiasm among the Republicans is down. Only slightly more than a third of his voters support him because of who he is and a quarter would consider voting for someone else -- significantly higher than the president.”
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 these top pollsters representing both sides of the aisle, surveyed 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide Aug. 5 through Aug. 9, 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.