Obama Loses Bin Laden Bounce; Romney in Dead Heat


romney-obamaThe public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans’ disapproval of how he is handling the nation’s economy and the deficit has reached new highs, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.

By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak.

New Post-ABC numbers show Obama leading five of six potential Republican presidential rivals tested in the poll. But he is in a dead heat with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who formally announced his 2012 candidacy last week, making jobs and the economy the central issues in his campaign.

Among all Americans, Obama and Romney are knotted at 47 percent each, and among registered voters, the former governor is numerically ahead, 49 percent to 46 percent.

Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including – for the first time – a slim majority who do so strongly.

In another indicator of rapidly shifting views on economic issues, 45 percent trust congressional Republicans over the president when it comes to dealing with the economy, an 11-point improvement for the GOP since March. Still, nearly as many, 42 percent, side with Obama on this issue.

The president has sought to point to progress on the economy, particularly in the automobile industry, and to argue that the policies he put in place at the beginning of his term are working. But the combined effects of weak economic indicators and dissatisfaction among the public are adding to the political pressures on the White House as the president’s advisers look toward what could be a difficult 2012 reelection campaign.

Meanwhile, Romney emerges in the new survey as the strongest current or prospective Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential field. Although he is by no means in a secure spot, on virtually every measure, the former governor appears better positioned than any of his rivals.

In contrast, the poll brings more bad news for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, whose bus tour along the East Coast last week renewed speculation that she might join the race.

Almost two-thirds of all Americans say they “definitely would not” vote for Palin for president. She is predictably unpopular with Democrats and most independents, but the new survey underscores the hurdles she would face if she became a candidate: 42 percent of Republicans say they’ve ruled out supporting her candidacy.

More than six in 10 Americans say they do not consider Palin qualified to serve as president. That is a slightly better rating for the former governor than through most of last year, but is another indication of widespread public doubts about a possible presidential run.

The Post-ABC poll asked Republicans and GOP-leaning independents whom they would vote for if a primary or caucus were held now in their state. Romney topped the list, with 21 percent, followed by Palin at 17 percent. No one else reached double digits, although former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has suddenly shown interest in becoming a candidate, is close, at 8 percent. Without Palin in the race, Romney scores 25 percent, with all others in the single digits.

In another measure of the field, Republicans chose Romney as the only one of a dozen possible candidates they would “strongly consider” for the party’s nomination as opposed to stating that they definitely would not vote for him. He and Palin scored equal numbers of respondents who said they would strongly consider supporting them, but Palin has more than double the percentage who have ruled her out.

Other candidates fared poorly on this count, including former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), whose campaign got off to a rocky start; Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), a libertarian who has a passionate following but many detractors; and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), who announced his candidacy on Monday.

The Massachusetts health-care plan enacted under Romney remains a potentially serious problem in the former governor’s bid. By nearly 2 to 1, Republicans oppose the plan, with strong detractors far outnumbering solid supporters. But there is some potential for him to frame the matter: Almost four in 10 Republicans expressed no opinion about the state’s program.

Overall dissatisfaction with the GOP field remains high, with as many respondents saying they are unhappy with their choices as say they are satisfied. At this time four years ago, nearly seven in 10 Republicans said they were satisfied with their field of candidates.

In head-to-head matchups with Obama, Palin trails by 17 percentage points, the worst of the six possible candidates tested. The president leads Gingrich and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. by 10 points. He runs 11 points ahead of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and 13 points ahead of Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.).

Romney owes his relatively good standing against the president to support from independents. He and Obama garner roughly equal percentages from those in their own parties. But independents split for Romney 50 percent to 43 percent.

The president continues to receive positive marks as a strong leader, but the 55 percent rating marks a low point of his presidency. He gets mixed reviews on empathy and on sharing the same values as respondents.

The telephone poll was conducted June 2-5 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

{Washington Post/Matzav.com}


  1. its tragic that he’s so terrible that so many people give disapproval, but he really has to be the worst US pres.
    Praying that we merit a better one and that Moshiach comes SOON, really soon, G-d willing

  2. IT HAS BEEN SHOWN there is a 13 KEY SYSTEM that has shown the winner of the popular vote for the last 150 years WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.
    Allan Lichtman from Brooklyn, NY.

    On March 10, 2010 Allan Lichtmann has once again publicly predicted the party that will win the next election popular vote. He has done so correctly at least a year before the event for every presidential election since and including 1984 – the last 7 elections.
    On March 2010 Allan Lichtman predicted that Obama would wins re-election in 2012.
    This is from his recent article…
    “Although the next presidential election is some 32 months away, this is an appropriate time to issue my earliest prediction yet; enactment of the landmark health care reform bill nearly guarantees President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
    I developed the Keys to the White House in 1981, in collaboration with Volodia Keilis-Borok, a world-renowned authority on the mathematics of prediction models. Retrospectively, the keys accurately account for the results of every presidential election from 1860 through 1980. Prospectively, the keys predicted well ahead of time the popular-vote winners of all seven presidential elections from 1984 through 2008.
    History shows that the choice of a president does not turn on debates, advertising, speeches, endorsements, rallies, platforms, promises or campaign tactics. Rather, presidential elections are primarily referenda on the performance of the party holding the White House.
    The Keys to the White House consist of 13 true-false questions that gauge the performance and strength of the incumbent presidential party. Each key is phrased so that an answer of true always favors re-election of the incumbent party (see table, below). When five or fewer keys are false or turned against the party holding the White House, that party wins another term in office. When six or more are false, the challenging party wins.
    With the health care bill now on the books, the party in power now has only four keys likely turned against it for 2012, two short of the fatal six negative keys. Thus, President Obama could endure an additional setback and still win re-election.
    The following nine keys currently favor the incumbent Democratic Party.
    1-The lack of any likely nomination challenge to President Obama secures Incumbent Party Contest Key 2.
    2-Obama’s virtually certain nomination locks up Incumbency Key 3.
    3-The absence of any likely third-party challenger with chances of winning at least 5 percent of the vote gives the Democrats the Third-party Key 4.
    4-The economy will probably be in the recovery stage in 2012, gaining Short-term Economy Key .
    5-The enactment of the health care bill, perhaps the most significant social legislation since the mid-1960s, secures Policy Change Key 7.
    6-Even with the tea party protests, the absence of sustained, violent upheavals like those of the 1960s avoids loss of the Social Unrest Key.
    7–It is unlikely that Obama will suffer a scandal comparable to Teapot Dome in the 1920s or Watergate in the 1970s, averting the loss of Scandal Key 9.
    8- Despite the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president is not likely to suffer a major foreign policy or military failure, comparable to Pearl Harbor or losing the Vietnam War, keeping Foreign/military Failure Key in line.
    9 -No Republican challenger matches the charisma of Theodore Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, keeping Democrats from losing the Challenger Charisma/Hero Key.

    The following 4 keys now count against the incumbent party ( the democratic party):
    10-The party’s prospective losses in the 2010 midterm elections probably will cost it Mandate Key.
    11-The weak economy during Obama’s first year in office portends the loss of Long-term Economy Key.
    12-Despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama has not gained the major triumph abroad needed to secure the Foreign/military Success Key.
    13-Obama has not regained the magic of his campaign, and now falls short of gaining the Incumbent Charisma/hero Key.

    The early verdict is that the president will secure re-election in 2012.

    The Keys are stated to favor the re-election of the incumbent party. When five or fewer are false, the incumbent party wins. When six or more are false, the other party wins.
    KEY 1 (Party Mandate): After the midterm elections, the incumbent party holds more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives than it did after the previous midterm elections. (FALSE)
    KEY 2 (Contest): There is no serious contest for the incumbent-party nomination. (TRUE)
    KEY 3 (Incumbency): The incumbent-party candidate is the sitting president. (TRUE)
    KEY 4 (Third party): There is no significant third party or independent campaign. (TRUE)
    KEY 5 (Short-term economy): The economy is not in recession during the election campaign. (TRUE)
    KEY 6 (Long-term economy): Real per-capita economic growth during the term equals or exceeds mean growth
    during the previous two terms. (FALSE)
    KEY 7 (Policy change): The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. (TRUE)
    KEY 8 (Social unrest): There is no sustained social unrest during the term. (TRUE)
    KEY 9 (Scandal): The administration is untainted by major scandal. (TRUE)
    KEY 10 (Foreign/military failure): The administration suffers no major failure in foreign or military affairs. (TRUE)
    KEY 11 (Foreign/military success): The administration achieves a major success in foreign or military affairs. (FALSE)
    KEY 12 (Incumbent charisma): The incumbent-party candidate is charismatic or a national hero. (FALSE)
    KEY 13 (Challenger charisma): The challenging-party candidate is not charismatic or a national hero. (TRUE)
    True: 9 Keys; false: 4 Keys. Prediction: Incumbent Obama wins in 2012

    Allan Lichtman is a professor of history at American University and a national political analyst. His e-mail address is lichtman@american.edu.