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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Polls: Obama Gains Ground on Some Measures


An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows several signs of strength for President Obama after the national conventions, but among likely voters, the presidential race remains deadlocked.

The poll finds Mr. Obama with 50 percent support to Mitt Romney's 44 percent support among registered voters, his best showing since early April in ABC News/Washington Post surveys, a difference that is within the poll's margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

But among likely voters, gleaned through screens used by polling organizations once voters begin paying a lot of attention to the race by late summer and fall, the candidates are running neck and neck, with 49 percent for Mr. Obama a nd 48 percent for Mr. Romney.

This week portends to be a very busy reporting period for major media polling organizations, now that the political conventions have ended and surveys are examining whether either candidate has received much of a bounce from the gatherings. So far, polls have shown that Mr. Romney received little or no bounce after the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., while in the time since the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., ended last Thursday, survey results for Mr. Obama have generally given him an edge. The CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday put the president ahead at 52 percent to Mr. Romney's 46 percent.

With only about 1 in 10 voters remaining truly undecided during this election cycle, small gains or losses in the polls are viewed as more meaningful to the campaigns.

The ABC News/Washington Post survey showed Mr. Obama also gaining ground on a few measures among the larger samp le of registered voters, including on handling taxes and Medicare, and being seen as the stronger leader. Enthusiasm among his supporters also grew, and new highs of support came from Democrats and men. Mr. Romney's support eroded among moderates, whites and higher-income voters.

Mr. Romney was seen by registered voters as better understanding what it takes to build a successful small business, and runs even with Mr. Obama on handling health care policy. However, while more than half of voters disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, a majority said the economy would not have improved under Mr. Romney.

And as always, it will be up to Mr. Obama and his campaign team to maintain the level of support seen in the ABC News/Washington Post poll in the next eight weeks of campaigning, or if the enthusiasm will diminish.

In addition, Gallup has a new analysis showing that despite Mr. Obama's tepid job approval ratings, a number of important economic a nd national mood indicators watched by Gallup are higher now than in February 2009, after Mr. Obama's inauguration.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was at negative 58 in Mr. Obama's first full month in office, and after a quick rise and a few dips over the last three and a half years, it is still in negative territory, but has been roughly cut in half, to negative 27 in August 2012. Gallup's Job Creating Index has also risen to a positive 19 from a negative 5 since Mr. Obama took office.

Only 15 percent of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going in the United States in February 2009; that number has fluctuated throughout Mr. Obama's presidency, falling to 11 percent in August and September 2011, but has risen back to 25 percent of Americans being satisfied now. And in August, nearly half of Americans said their standard of living was improving, compared with just over a third who said that in February 2009.

The ABC News/Washington Post po ll was conducted by telephone Sept. 7 to 9, among 826 registered voters, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. Gallup's analysis is based on trends from both Gallup daily tracking and monthly polls, in which interviews are conducted by telephone among samples of at least 1,000 national adults.