Republican Mitt Romney has closed in on President Barack Obama as Americans are more confident in the former Massachusetts governor’s ability to improve the economy, a Pew Research Center poll shows.
While Obama still leads Romney 50 percent to 46 percent among registered voters in the Pew poll released today, the margin narrowed from the seven percentage point advantage Obama had in the organization’s May survey.
Romney led Obama, 49 percent to 41 percent, when voters were asked who would do the best job on the economy. The survey also found more pessimism about the country’s economic future as 34 percent of respondents said they expect the economy to improve over the next year -- down 10 points from a March poll.
The survey found declining enthusiasm for Obama among younger voters compared with 2008, and more engagement in the race among Republicans than Democrats. Still, Democrats reported more enthusiasm for Obama than Republicans did for Romney, according to Pew.
“Overall, it’s a tight race and Romney’s big advantage at this point is his lead on improving economic conditions,” said Carroll Doherty, associate director of the Pew poll.
Obama leads Romney on measures of personal qualities, with 50 percent of voters holding a favorable view of the president. Voters gave Romney a more unfavorable than favorable view, 47 percent to 41 percent. No candidate in the past two decades has been viewed more unfavorably at this time in the election cycle, according to Pew’s surveys.
For Romney, “this is something that’s a real challenge for him going forward -- judgment in a crisis, ability to connect well,” Doherty said. “Even his own supporters are dubious about his abilities on some of these traits.”
The Pew survey of 2,013 adults, including 1,563 registered voters, was conducted June 7-17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for the total sample and 2.9 percentage points for the sample of registered voters.
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