President Barack Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney among registered voters even as a majority disapprove of his handling of the U.S. economy, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.
The poll, released yesterday, gave Obama a 49 percent to 43 percent edge over Romney. The president led Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, by 47 percent to 44 percent in the same survey conducted last month.
Fifty-three percent in the latest poll disapprove of the president’s stewardship of the economy compared with 44 percent who approve. Just 32 percent of respondents said that things are generally headed in the right direction compared with 60 percent who say things are on the wrong track. About 27 percent say the economy will get better in the next year, the smallest share since November 2011, the poll found.
Obama’s edge is attributable in part to voters who view him more favorably than Romney. About 49 percent say they have a very positive or a somewhat positive feeling toward Obama compared with 43 percent who have a very negative or somewhat negative impression. Romney’s positive rating is 35 percent and his negative rating is 40 percent.
Voters identify more with Obama than Romney, the poll shows. About 50 percent say that the president has a background and set of values they can identify with compared with 42 percent who say that about Romney.
Obama’s campaign and its allies have been airing television ads thousands of times attacking Romney’s tenure at the private- equity firm Bain Capital LLC. About 43 percent of poll respondents say they have a less favorable opinion of Romney after seeing, reading or hearing something about him or his campaign in the past two weeks compared with 28 percent who have a more favorable feeling.
Voters prefer Obama to Romney as someone who looks out for the middle class and as a good commander in chief, the poll found. Romney gets better marks for having good ideas for improving the economy.
The president has a 15-point edge over Romney on the question of who would be better at handling foreign policy, the survey said. Romney planned to leave tonight for a trip to the U.K., Israel and Poland.
The survey was conducted July 18-22 and questioned 1,000 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
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