Gallup Poll: Obama Beats Romney as Better for Middle-Income Americans

A new Gallup Poll finds that more Americans by a wide margin think middle class earners will be in better shape after four years of Barack Obama than four years of Romney — a poll that underscores Romney’s task when he participates in a 90 minute debate Monday night:

More Americans believe middle-income earners would be better off in four years if President Barack Obama is re-elected than if Mitt Romney wins, by 53% to 43%. The public also says lower-income Americans would be better off under an Obama presidency, while, by an even larger margin, they say upper-income Americans would do better under Romney.

Other groups that Americans believe stand to do well under Obama are racial and ethnic minorities, women, young adults, and senior citizens. Anywhere from 53% to 67% of Americans name Obama as better for these groups, compared with fewer than half picking Romney.

In addition to upper-income Americans, respondents to the Sept. 24-27 USA Today/Gallup poll believe that investors and men would fare better under a Romney presidency. Americans are evenly divided as to which of the two candidates would be better for small-business owners.

As would be expected, these views are highly partisan — with the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats naming their own party’s candidate as better for most groups. The only exceptions are that two-thirds of Democrats believe upper-income Americans would be better off under Romney — indicating that they don’t consider this a positive credential. Also, Democrats are evenly divided between naming Obama (46%) and Romney (48%) as better for investors.

And independents? No surprises here:

Independents’ views, important given their role as swing voters in what could be a close election, closely match those of the public at large.

Part of what Gallup says it the bottom line:

Americans overwhelmingly believe a continuation of the Obama presidency would be more helpful to racial and ethnic minorities, lower-income Americans, and women than would a Romney presidency. On the other hand, they perceive that upper-income Americans and investors would be better off if Romney wins. These images of the two candidates generally fit the traditional profile of the Democratic and Republican parties. Also, the view that a Romney presidency would disproportionately favor the rich and investors has been a persistent theme in the Obama campaign’s focus on Romney, underscoring concerns highlighted earlier by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Still, it is not clear whether these strong special-interest-oriented associations are more helpful or harmful to either candidate. For example, some may consider Romney’s potential aid to investors as undesirable, while others could see it as a positive — believing that what is good for investors is in turn good for the overall economy. Similarly, the view that Obama would help lower-income Americans is likely considered positive by many, but could be interpreted as more negative by those who are leery of increased government involvement in redistribution of income.

But it is one more indication that Mitt Romney has some image repair to do — which he will seek to do Wednesday night.

1 Comment

  1. If it is still true that middle and lower income Americans make up the vast majority of voters (as they must) then the high numbers of them favoring Obama cannot help but bode well for the President. In fact, the famous reference to the 99% vs. the 1% has received much exposure and has probably racked up a large amount of favorable political mileage in the minds of voters who identify with the 99%.

    I don’t believe most Americans will vote to support the upper-classes being better off to make investments under Romney, simply because of the fact that a large number of us, including a large number of minority groups, don’t even make any fancy investments, or have the money to begin doing so!

    I also can’t help but believe that there are many independents that will reject Romney at the polls simply because of his 47% comments,slamming those of us who are not in his economic strata. In addition, why would we want a President whose main distinguishing qualification is that he is a cracker-jack businessman? Shouldn’t a great President also be proficient at foreign policy, and have compassion for those who have lost out in this wall street driven recession?! Obama at least recognizes that a vast majority of the middle class is struggling not as a consequence of their own “refusal to take responsibility for their lives,” but because they represent the collateral damage of CEOs and executives who have refused to take responsibility for the rest of us–even when they used other people’s money to make completely irresponsible investments!

    Today’s voters understand that Obama didn’t cause the recession. But although statistics are (even so) not good for those on watch during a financial catastrophes, it is encouraging that so many in the middle class recognize that the President is more likely to stand up for them–not billionaires!

    Republicans keep harping on the theme of whether average Americans today are better off than they were four years ago. But considering the complete nose-dive that had begun before Obama took office, perhaps more of them realize that without the bold moves made by Obama, we all could have been much,much worse off.

    We should all consider what the consequences of letting the banks and auto industries fail would have been. Although GOP Monday morning quarter backs are convincing at claiming that these huge industries should have borrowed money from the private sector in order to pull out of bankruptcy, just which businesses would those have been? Considering that trillions of dollars worth of equity had just vaporized, what businesses then, could have loaned hundreds of billions to keep other businesses deemed too large to fail, afloat? All of them had also taken tremendous hits from the Recession and would be very reluctant to loan the massive amounts of capital needed!

    Even though historically, Presidents in Obama’s position face an automatic disadvantage, it is encouraging to myself, and other Democrats that this time, the public may not be so quick to grab the trickle down bait offered by wealthy Republicans.

    Anything can happen, but then, anything else can also happen–if you know what I mean!

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