Campaigns/Elections

New Poll: Romney as Consultant-in-Chief

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In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are in a virtual tie at 47 percent each. Yet about a quarter of likely voters say they may change their minds, even more so among Romney voters. Votes for Romney are less certain, enthusiastic, and are largely seen as a protest vote against the president. Fifty-nine percent of Romney's supporter say they are voting against Obama, whereas 74 of Obama's supporter are voting for Obama. About a quarter of Romney voters are "less enthusiastic" about their vote choice and quarter say they may change their vote.

Given tenuous support for Romney, one might expect Obama to clearly lead. Yet, majorities disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy (54 percent), health care (52 percent), and immigration (62 percent). Likewise a majority says the economy will play a significant role in presidential vote choice, a plurality (42 percent) agrees regarding health care, and another plurality (36 percent) say the federal budget deficit is extremely important. Pluralities also trust Romney over Obama in handling the economy (49 percent), and the budget deficit (52 percent). In terms of the salient issues people care most about, Americans view Romney as the more policy-competent of the two.

Yet Obama is considered the more focused and relatable candidate. Pluralities perceive him to have a better understanding of people's economic problems (50 percent), a clearer economic plan (43 percent), view him as a stronger leader (47 percent), more likely to stand up for what he believes in (48 percent) and ultimately more likeable (63 percent). These numbers suggest that people relate better to Obama and would probably prefer to have him over for dinner rather than Romney.

These data indicate Obama should be leading in the polls, yet he's in a virtual tie with his opponent. Perhaps, in today's difficult economy, Romney's consultant-in-chief persona outweighs Obama's resolve and neighborly likability.

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.

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  1. If nothing else, it will be a welcome change to have no cult of personality in the Oval Office.

    1. Romney; A cult of non-personality?

  2. Do we have numbers from roughly this time in the last presidential election?
    My impression was that many who voted for Obama were in fact voting against McCain…
    The comparison would be interesting.

    1. Not so much voting against McCain as voting against Republicans. And really, not so much voting against Republicans as voting against all the “War on Terror” bullshit. The 2010 elections mid-terms were people voting against ObamaCare and deficit spending. People have nothing to vote about this time, so expect low turnout, which would normally favor Republicans since it means fewer “low information voters”, who are majority Democrats. At the same, “likability” matters more when people don’t have a specific issue to grab on to, and that favors Obama.

      1. that anti War on Terror vote sure worked out well, didn’t it. If by “well”, I mean retaining all existing programs and adding a few new touches, like stepping up drone attacks and sanctioning the murder of American citizens.

        1. The anti-Obamacare vote worked out just as well.

          1. A repeal bill did get through the house like 30 times.

            1. Did they attach it to anything hyper important? Like every single bill? No, they did not.

          2. Well, not for lack of trying. The House GOP has voted to repeal it 33 times. The GOP doesn’t control the Senate (yet).

      2. Thanks to Justice Roberts they have Obamacare to vote on. And pretty much everyone has the economy to vote on.

      3. The 2010 elections mid-terms were people voting against ObamaCare and deficit spending. People have nothing to vote about this time

        Um, what? Everyone ticked off about those things in 2010 is even more ticked off about them now. Republicans are very motivated, so I expect high turnout from them.

        Also, regarding Obama’s oddly high poll numbers, I suspect a certain amount of the Bradley Effect. For years people have been told that opposition to Obama is “racist.” Many may not be willing to say they dislike him to a pollster, but may act differently in the privacy of a voting booth.

      4. “And really, not so much voting against Republicans as voting against all the “War on Terror” bullshit.”

        Well YOU sure got fucked, didn’t ya?

  3. I’m not sure what the author means by Obama’s “resolve”. There is much mileage to be had by publicizing his work schedule. His work day looks like most people’s vacation.
    http://www.whitehousedossier.c…..ly-9-2012/

    1. I have the same question about his alleged likeability, unless likeability means “the quality of causing people to throw their remotes through the tv screen when your face appears on it.”

    2. “Work smarter, not harder.”

  4. dorm room bs artist versus hollow party, hollow man

  5. People say he is likable because they are afraid to say that a black man is unpleasant for fear of being a racist. The fact that he is black is the only reason Obama is not 10+ points down right now. Yeah, Romney could be a better candidate. But no candidate is going to overcome the guilty white “I really want to vote for a black President”.

    One thing to consider on Romney’s soft support. In four years of running for and being President, Obama has never moved the polls on a single issue. Go look it up. The only thing he has ever been able to do is muscle things through Congress and rule by EO. He has never once convinced the country to back him on an issue and pressure the Congress to comply. So while Romney’s support may be soft, Obama has shown no ability to change anyone’s opinion no matter how soft that opinion is.

    1. well, the experiment in guilt relief has proven itself quite a failure, and the guilt vote should be replaced by remote at having voted for such shallow reasons in the first place.

      I keep waiting for the mass lightbulb to go off where people recognize that the results of Obama policies are not due to incompetence or bad advice, but rather, those results are what was hoped for.

    2. [stereotype mode]
      Ive never met a Mormon who wasnt likeable. Im sure there are asshole Mormons, but I havent met them.
      [/stereotype mode]

      1. Neither have I. And I would imagine that as the campaign goes on Obama’s attempt to make Romney into a bad guy is going to wear thin.

      2. Maybe the assholes all left back in the day and joined the kitten murdering offshoot.

    3. Obama has shown no ability to change anyone’s opinion no matter how soft that opinion is.

      That’s not true John.

      Obamacare become more unpopular the more Obama talked about.

      The same holds for just about every issue that he’s pushed from the bully pulpit.

    4. He has never once convinced the country to back him on an issue and pressure the Congress to comply.

      Neither did Bush. That’s a seriously hard thing to do.

      The GOP was pressured to back down on the payroll tax cut and the debt ceiling brinkmanship, but that was actually Congressional Dems and the media’s doing.

      1. Neither did Bush

        Bush sold the war on Iraq. Bush also got his own party to vote for NCLD and Medicare Part D. Bush got huge bipartisan majorities for any number of things. Obama hasn’t done that on a single issue.

        Note that says nothing about the value of the things Bush did. But no question he was able to push and sell them to a large section of the country.

    5. I think the guilty white “I really want to vote for a black President” thing only works once for a given candidate. Once they’ve been given four years to break promises and screw up, it’s a different matter.

  6. If it weren’t for Emily Ekins, this whole blog would be opinions and hot air.

  7. Obama [has] a clearer economic plan (43 percent)

    It might be insane, socialist-ic, bullshit, but he articulates it so well.

    1. I bet few if any of that 43% could explain what Obama’s economic plan is. But they know it is clear.

      1. Sure they could, it’s take from “rich” people and give to me.

        1. Shhsshhh!

          You want the other 57% to figure out his plan??!!

      2. I would probably answer yes to that question.

        Obama has a clear economic plan: Expand the size and scope of government and claim some trickle down benefits for the rest of us.

        I hate it, but it is a clear economic plan.

      3. Clearer, not clear. And unfortunately, they’re probably right, given Romney’s utter vagueness.

  8. Two things:

    1. Anybody but [incumbent] is a losing strategy.

    2. An incumbent who is below 50% in polling is in trouble.

    1. Number 2 is the exception to 1. Anyone but the incumbent is a losing strategy when the incumbent is popular or at least above 50%.

      1. No, anyone but [incumbent] is a good way to drive an unpopular incumbent above 50%.

        ABI doesnt excite the base, so they dont show up. People arent excited about voting against a guy, they get excited by voting for a guy.

        No one gave a damn about voting FOR Kerry in 2004, but people were excited about voting for Obama in 2008.

        Even in the primaries, no one was excited about Romney, he just was the default.

        1. Yeah this is how I read it too.

          Sucks (sort of), but at least it will cut a few years out between now and the collapse.

        2. ABI doesnt excite the base, so they dont show up

          Not true. With the base it does just the opposite. The Base hates the other side. That is why they are the base. The Republican base will walk across their dead mothers to vote against Obama.

          What ABI does is get the middle not to care. When the incumbent is unpopular and the challenger is running ABI, the middle doesn’t come out because the incumbent is unpopular and they don’t care to save him.

          The bottom line is that incumbents below 50% nearly always lose. The only way they win is if their opponent is truly marginal and dislikable. This is why Obama has gone so negative. It is his only hope. Obama’s strategy is “sure things are horrible and I let everyone down, but Romney is worse”. And that is unlikely to work.

          1. but the base is always going to vote for its guy. It’s the mushy middle that has to get ramped up. It could be that all likeability business about King Obie I is overplayed wishful thinking on the part of his dogwashers, and the same could be said for the alleged lack of enthusiasm for Mitt.

            Obviously, you need more than the base to win and the same folks who opted to “give the black man a chance” in ’08 may be the same folks who now have buyer’s remorse and say the corporate titan surely cannot be worse.

          2. Nah look at it this way:

            If there was an infallable and legally enforced promotion that said that everyone who showed up at any Starbucks on Saturday got a roll of gold double eagles, you’d swing by one, right?

            And then there was another infallible and legally enforced promotion that said unless 10 people showed up at any combination of Starbuck’s on Saturday, a dog would crap in everyone’s yard sometime next week. You probably wouldn’t show up because you figure at least 10 people will go there anyway, and you really don’t care about a dog crapping in your yard all THAT much.

            And that’s what this election is. Except obviously the double eagles came out of YOUR safe-deposit box, and the yard in question is your civil rights (though oddly enough, the dog crap is actually dog crap).

            It sucks, but that’s how it’s going to roll out.

          3. They key is to make that middle part of your base. That is what Obama did last time, but getting young voters excited.

            It may have been for stupid reasons, but they were.

            Kerry didnt do that, because ABB didnt resonate.

            And ABO isnt working for Romney. He may still win, because Obama is that weak and running a gawdawful campaign. Hence my pointing out two separate rules that are suggesting opposite results.

        3. ABI doesnt excite the base, so they dont show up.

          This is 100% wrong.

          People get much more excited about voting against someone – something than they do voting for someone-something.

          It’s why campaigns always try to demonize their opponents – it works. While the fuzzy elect me and I’ll do great things to you usually doesn’t get any traction at all.

          Obama 08 was the exception to that rule because of the historic nature of electing the first black person as president.

          1. Not sure that was an exception; young voters still didn’t really produce the Obama victory, it was moderates who hated all things GOP (hence the 59 Dem senators).

            1. And the supposedly-racist white voters who helped put Barry in office.

              The same white people Tony shits on in posts down below here. Let’s watch as he practices *more* bigotry!

  9. The only way Romney wins is if Republicans sufficiently suppress the vote in the right states. Take a look at any electoral college counter. Romney has the much bigger challenge. And Republicans in election cycles to come are pretty much doomed to the realities of demographics. There just aren’t enough old, fat, white men to sustain it anymore.

    1. The only way Romney wins is if Republicans sufficiently suppress the vote in the right states.

      Save this quote for November, folks!

      1. You can bet Tony is. “We only lost because the Republicans oppressed us, not because we suck.”

        1. It is not my fault the facts of the world align this way: voter fraud is a phantom and a lie, voter suppression is actually happening by Republican state legislatures and governors.

          1. You’re just pissed because your Team doesn’t do more to suppress votes.

    2. If you think the country is getting younger, you’re fantasizing.

      Plus, when and if the country does become majority-minority, it’s going to be much harder for the Dems to sustain race-baiting as a political strategy, lessening the relevance of those demographic changes.

      1. When all racial minorities are on one side, that’s hard to explain in any way other than the other side being hostile to racial minorities. Without white racial resentment there would be no Republican party.

        1. So, whites are the only ones who practice racial resentment.

          Thanks for clearing that up, Tony.

          1. “When all racial minorities are on one side, due to having been lured there by promises of free stuff from one particular political party…”

        2. When all racial minorities are on one side,

          What about the white hispanics?

          or white asians?

    3. “And Republicans in election cycles to come are pretty much doomed to the realities of demographics.”

      And yet oddly, the last census saw populations increase in Republican states and decrease in Democratic states.

  10. …. And Republicans in election cycles to come are pretty much doomed to the realities of demographics. There just aren’t enough old, fat, white men to sustain it anymore.

    Yeah..you may be right! It’s going to be fun though……watching the democratic base begin to cannibalize itself after Black Kennedy wins in November.

    That alone is worth a second term.

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