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ABC/WaPo Poll:Obama Has Lowest Incumbent Rating Since 1984

By    |   Tuesday, 04 September 2012 09:30 PM

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a slight bounce from last week’s Republican National Convention – including a gain among women, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

But President Barack Obama nears his nomination for a second term with the lowest pre-convention personal popularity rating of an incumbent in this poll since the 1980s. He’s also at his lowest of the year among registered voters, particularly women.

The poll gave the highest unfavorable rating of any incumbent going back to 1984, and he is the first incumbent in the survey with a higher unfavorable than favorable rating, Bloomberg reports.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that Romney registered a 5 percentage point gain in favorability among all adults – 40 percent favorably, 47 percent unfavorably – compared with 35-51 percent last week. Among registered voters, the bounce was 3 points, 43-48 percent now, versus 40-51 percent the prior week.

However, Romney’s gap with Obama is far closer now than last spring. Then, Obama led the former Massachusetts governor by 14 points among registered voters. Now, the president’s lead is only 4 points.

Among women, Romney received a 7-point gain in favorability from last week to this, to 41 percent favorable to 48 percent unfavorable.

But for Obama, just 47 percent of registered voters in the ABC News/Washington Post poll see Obama favorably overall, down 7 percentage points from his recent peak in April, while 49 percent rate him unfavorably. He’s numerically underwater in this group for the first time since February.

The decline has occurred entirely among registered women voters – from 57-39 percent favorable-unfavorable in April to a numerically negative 46-50 percent now. That’s Obama’s lowest score among women voters in ABC/Post polls since he took office.

Unusually, his rating among men, 50-47 percent favorable-unfavorable, is numerically better than it is among women, though not by a significant margin.

The result is not the only sign of the work ahead for Obama among women. In a separate ABC News/Post poll last week, he led Romney among registered women voters in vote preference by only 6 points, 49-43 percent. In 2008, Obama won women by 13 points, 56-43 percent.

The public’s continued discontent with the economy provides the context for voter attitudes, ABC News reports. As Obama’s favorability has lost ground since spring, so has consumer confidence. And given persistently high unemployment and a range of related woes, 69 percent in an ABC/Post poll last week said the country was seriously off on the wrong track.

Besides the drop among women, his favorable rating has lost 13 points among Republicans since April, from 20 percent then to only 7 percent now.

Romney, however, has solidified his popularity in some core Republican groups. Eighty-nine percent of Republicans now see Romney favorably overall, as do 78 percent of those who are “very” conservative, both new highs for Romney this cycle.

Among those who say they are “somewhat” conservative, however, fewer – 61 percent – see Romney favorably.

Obama does continue to do considerably better than Romney among moderates – 57-40 percent favorable-unfavorable for the president, compared with 36-54 percent for his GOP challenger.

Both, however, are struggling among independents – often swing voters, and the predominant political group in recent years. They see Obama more unfavorably than favorably by a scant 6-point margin; Romney, by 17.

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Tuesday, 04 September 2012 09:30 PM
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