Tue, Sep 11, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Obama takes lead against Romney: polls

IT’S THE ECONOMY:Riding high after a successful party convention, Obama is now enjoying higher levels of support with voters trusting him to protect US jobs

Reuters, WASHINGTON

A man waves a sign endorsing the December 2008 decision by US President Barack Obama to provide financial assistance to the US auto industry on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

US President Barack Obama remained ahead of Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney in a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, maintaining a boost in popularity that followed the Democratic National Convention.

Of the 1,419 likely voters polled online over the previous four days, 47 percent said they would vote for Obama and 43 percent for Romney if the Nov. 6 US election were held today.

Obama’s margin over Romney in the daily rolling poll was unchanged from Saturday’s numbers, turning up the heat on Republican strategists who were hoping for a more muted post-convention “bounce” for Obama in the wake of Friday’s release of weak employment numbers.

“It means [Democrats] are on good footing going into the rest of the election,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.

Obama’s lead already was more sustained than the smaller and shorter-lived boost that Romney enjoyed after the Republican convention finished in Tampa, Florida, on Aug. 30, Clark said.

“The task is now to stay on the message as we’re still quite a ways from the election,” Clark said, reiterating her prediction that the gap in poll numbers between Obama and Romney is likely to narrow and stay close up to Nov. 6.

Senior advisers to Romney rejected the idea that they would panic after several polls showed the former Massachusetts governor losing in key swing states, saying such results reflected the recent Democratic convention and not the ongoing tight race.

“An incumbent president who is below 50 percent in the polls is in a very bad place,” one senior Romney adviser said.

What Romney advisers are banking on is US citizens’ feelings about Obama’s handling of the US economy.

“Mitt has improved his standing in battleground states and is positioned perfectly on the issue of the economy with swing voters, who are so down on President Obama’s performance in office,” the first senior adviser to Romney said.

Sunday’s Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Romney leading in popularity among registered independent voters, with 35 percent of them saying they would vote for him. Obama had 31 percent.

However, asked which of the two “will protect American jobs,” 32 percent of independent registered voters picked Obama, while 27 percent sided with Romney, according to Sunday’s results.

Among all the 1,660 registered voters surveyed, Obama scored 42 percent compared with Romney’s 35 percent.

Obama’s ranking in that category has climbed steadily over the past two weeks of the daily poll, starting with 34 percent on Aug. 28, reaching 40 percent on Friday and peaking on Sunday.

At the same time, 72 percent of registered voters surveyed said the national economy and national deficit were on the wrong track, while 66 percent said the same about jobs and unemployment and 57 percent about the direction of things in the country in general, according to Sunday’s poll numbers.

Asked how they felt about Obama, 54 percent of registered voters were favorable. Romney’s favorability trailed at 49 percent.

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