Voter disapproval of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is hurting his re- election prospects and improving the outlook for Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a New York Times/CBS News national poll shows.
Romney is backed by 47 percent and Obama by 46 percent in the survey, released yesterday. The numbers include voters who said they leaned toward one of the candidates. Excluding those voters, Romney led Obama, 45 percent to 43 percent.
The results, while within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, represent the first time Romney has had an edge in the Times/CBS survey since he emerged as the presumptive Republican nominee in early April.
Obama led by three percentage points in the Times/CBS poll in March. In the April survey, the two were tied with 46 percent each.
Since then, voter attitudes toward Obama’s economic record have declined. In the latest survey, 55 percent said they disapproved of his handling of the economy, while 39 percent expressed approval. In April, 48 percent disapproved and 44 percent approved.
In the latest poll, 49 percent said Romney would do a better job in dealing with the economy and unemployment, while 41 percent said Obama would. In April, 33 percent said they saw improvement in the economy, compared with 24 percent now.
As for the president’s overall job performance, more people disapprove (46 percent) than approve (44 percent) in this poll, a reversal of the findings in April. Only about a third of those surveyed view the two candidates favorably -- 36 percent for Obama, 32 percent for Romney.
Obama has an advantage on the question of concern for average Americans; 63 percent said the president does care, while 55 percent said that of Romney. The president’s campaign has been focusing on depicting Romney as out of touch with most Americans.
On that point, 53 percent of those surveyed said they felt that policies in a Romney administration would favor the rich, while 21 percent said they felt that way about Obama administration policies.
The telephone poll of 982 registered voters was conducted July 11-16, the Times said.
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