Voters believe GOP standard bearer Mitt Romney is better equipped to improve the economy than President Barack Obama by a margin of 43 percent to 36 percent. However, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll
shows the president leading overall 49 to 43 percent and holding the edge on other key indicators.
Romney’s lead on the economy comes after the Obama campaign has spent weeks trying to define the former Massachusetts governor as someone whose business practices at the investment firm Bain Capital led to layoffs, closed plants, and outsourcing of jobs.
The poll also found that just 27 percent of registered voters believe the economy will improve in the next year.
Regardless, seven in 10 voters say they like Obama personally, compared with just 47 percent for Romney. Half also say the president has the background and set of values they identify with, an eight point advantage over Romney.
The president also holds double-digit leads when voters are asked who would be a better commander in chief, who would better protect the middle class and who has the knowledge and experience to handle the presidency.
The tsunami of negative advertising recently also appears to have taken a toll on both candidates. The poll found Obama and Romney had the highest negative ratings to date and more than four in 10 voters said they felt less favorably toward the candidates.
"We have two candidates who are in deep, double-digit negatives," Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducts the survey with Democrat Peter Hart, told the Journal. "There is no precedent for that in the modern era."
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 registered voters, was conducted July 18-22.
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