Two new polls show the gap between President Barack Obama and his likely Republican challenger Mitt Romney is narrowing.
Both Reuters and CNN gave Obama an 11 point edge when they last surveyed potential voters in March. Now Reuters puts the lead at four points and CNN at nine.
“Obama has had to preside over a really tough economy,” said Chris Jackson, research director at Ipsos public affairs, which conducted the Reuters poll. “People are sort of dinging him for it and that’s really what's going to make this a competitive race.”
Reuters gives Obama a 47 to 43 percent lead over Romney. The CNN poll, which was conducted by Opinion Research, says the president is up by 52 to 43. The effect of the two surveys means the RealClearPolitics poll of polls now gives Obama a 3.2 point edge.
Jackson pointed out that at the time of the last Reuters poll, Romney was still battling Rick Santorum for the Republican nomination. Santorum quit the race last week.
“Just by winning the Republican primary, he has managed to close the gap” with Obama, he said.
The CNN poll shows Obama is a far more polarizing figure than Romney. More than three out of every four voters — 76 percent — who say they will cast their ballot for Obama say it is a vote for him rather than a vote against the Republican challenger. Only 23 percent say it would be a vote against Romney.
But 63 percent of Romney supporters say their choice would be a vote against a second Obama term, with 35 percent saying such a vote would show support for the former Massachusetts governor.
Both polls were conducted between Friday and Sunday shortly after the “Mommy Wars” flap when Democrat strategist Hilary Rosen accused Romney’s wife Ann of “never having worked a day in her life.”
However more than twice as many respondents in the CNN poll said Obama is more in touch with the problems facing women, while the president topped Romney by 47 to 39 on “family values” in the Reuters poll.
Respondents to both polls gave Obama higher marks than Romney on virtually all specific issues asked.
The only one where Romney came out ahead was when Reuters asked about jobs and the economy, where the Republican won by 45 to 43 percent. By a wide margin, the poll found that is the subject that voters care about most.
And by a 47 to 39 percent margin the CNN poll showed voters believe Romney is more likely to change his position for political reasons.
Both organizations carried out nationwide telephone polls of adults. Reuters included 1,044 adults, 891 of whom are registered voters; CNN was with 1,015 adults, 910 of whom are registered.
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