President Barack Obama gained support among voters in October, according to an independent poll showing him with improved job-approval ratings and strength in contests against Republicans campaigning for his office in 2012.
The 47 percent job-approval recorded for Obama in a Quinnipiac University poll of voters conducted Oct. 25-31 is up from 41 percent in a similar survey released Oct. 6. The percentage of voters voicing disapproval of his performance is down to 49 percent from 55 percent.
Voters are statistically divided over the question of whether the Democrat deserves a second term, with 47 percent saying yes in the survey and 49 percent no. That compares with 54 percent who said Obama didn’t deserve re-election in the last poll and 42 percent who said he did.
In matchups with potential challengers, the poll showed Obama leading each of four contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney running closest to him. Obama was favored over Romney, 47 percent to 42 percent.
The president led former business executive Herman Cain, 50 percent to 40 percent; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, 52 percent to 37 percent; and Texas Governor Rick Perry, 52 percent to 36 percent.
In the poll released in early October, Obama was ahead of Romney by four percentage points and led Perry by just one point. He wasn’t matched up against Cain or Gingrich.
Among Republican voters surveyed, Cain was favored for the party’s nomination by 30 percent, Romney 23 percent, Gingrich 10 percent and Perry 8 percent.
Most of the survey was taken before reports surfaced Oct. 30 that Cain was accused of sexual harassment by at least two women who worked for him at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Cain has called the allegations false, while saying the association agreed to pay one of the women a settlement for leaving.
Among all voters surveyed, 41 percent said Cain’s lack of experience in public office makes them less likely to vote for him, while 43 percent said it makes no difference. Cain is a former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza and is in a statistical tie with Romney for the lead in an Iowa poll of Republicans likely to attend the state’s caucuses that start the nomination contest on Jan. 3.
For Obama, the gain in approval follows the capture and killing of ex-Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi after a months-long NATO-led assault in which the U.S. played a supporting role.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut- based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, also cites “slight improvement in some of the economic numbers” in October as another possible reason for Obama’s improved political standing.
The president “seems to be improving in voters’ eyes almost across the board,” Brown said in a statement. “He scores big gains among the groups with whom he has had the most problems -- whites and men. Women also shift from a 5-point negative to a 4-point positive” view.
The overall survey of 2,294 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points. For the 869 voters questioned on the Republican race, the error margin is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
--Editors: Don Frederick,
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