A just-released Bloomberg National Poll puts President Barack Obama ahead of Mitt Romney by an amazing 13 points. The poll, conducted June 15- 18, portrays Romney as “out of touch” and shows Obama leading at 53% with Romney trailing at a mere 40%.
The survey shows Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has yet to repair the damage done to his image during the Republican primary. Thirty-nine percent of Americans view him favorably, about the same as when he announced his presidential candidacy last June, while 48 percent see him unfavorably — a 17-percentage point jump during a nomination fight dominated by attacks ads. A majority of likely voters, 55 percent, view him as more out of touch with average Americans compared with 36 percent who say the president is more out of touch.
Taken together, the results suggest an unsettled political environment for both Obama and Romney five months from the November election, with voters choosing for now to stick with a president they say is flawed rather than backing a challenger they regard as undefined and disconnected.
“You can see in these data how important turnout will be,” says J. Ann Selzer of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. who directed the poll. “Those most enthusiastic about the election are more supportive of Romney, but Obama’s voters are more locked into their candidate than Romney’s. Building resolve to vote and making the vote stick is job one, and both candidates face obstacles toward getting that done.”
The presidential race is roughly tied among the most enthusiastic voters, 49 percent of whom back Romney compared with 48 percent for Obama. Still, Romney inspires far less enthusiasm even among his supporters than does Obama, with 35 percent of Romney backers saying their support for him is “very strong,” compared with 51 percent of Obama backers who say so.
Beyond Romney’s low favorability ratings, the poll reflects perceived weaknesses for the Republican challenger both in style and substance. Only 31 percent of likely voters say they’d want to sit next to Romney on a long airplane flight, compared with 57 percent who prefer Obama as a seat mate.
About a third of likely voters rate Romney best at understanding their problems and struggles, and dealing with world leaders, while Obama draws majorities on both. And just 34 percent of respondents prefer Romney to Obama in appearing regularly on their TV and computer screens for the next four years; the president is the pick of 54 percent. Obama’s favorability ratings are the reverse of Romney’s, with 55 percent of Americans viewing the president positively, while 42 percent don’t.
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