Two new polls should Republicans smile and Democrats highly nervous. Both the Washington Post/ABC News Poll and NBC/Wall Street Journal pols are showing an ever-tightening race. Look for the conventional wisdom to now do more than lip service to the conventional wisdom that Barack Obama, in fact, may be the underdog in this race — particularly as his party now seems split over the Bain Capital issue use.
Whoever would have thought that this early in the game a)the Democrats would appear to be more split than the Republicans and b)Romney would be inching towards a lead. The Pollster chart of combined, polls, in fact, shows Romney ahead. Details:
Less than six months ahead of November’s general election, Americans are split between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The Washington Post/ABC News survey showed the two candidates statistically tied with 49% of Americans backing Obama and 46% supporting Romney. When asked which contender would best handle the economy, Obama and Romney were tied at 47%.
A marked enthusiasm gap opened between the two candidates in the new poll. Forty-eight percent of Obama’s supporters said they were “very enthusiastic” about the president’s candidacy, compared to 23% of Romney’s backers who said they were “very enthusiastic” about supporting the Republican candidate.
Asked further about each candidate’s character, voters seemed to favor Obama. They gave the Democratic incumbent higher marks on “understanding the economic problems people in this country are having” (48%-40%), as well as “has the better moral character to serve as president” (52%-38%).
The gender gap between Obama and Romney continued to persist in Tuesday’s survey. Women favored Obama over his GOP rival 51% to 44% in the poll.
As in almost every national survey, the economy was the No. 1 issue for voters, with 52% of respondents saying it was their top concern.
Despite a volatile and eventful past few weeks in the early presidential contest, President Barack Obama continues to hold a small – and slightly narrowing – lead over Mitt Romney, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
But given the public’s pessimism about the economy and the direction of the country, Romney finds himself well within striking distance in an election that has the potential to be as close as the 2004 race between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry.
And the bottom line:
“Obama’s chances for re-election … are no better than 50-50,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff.
“So much has happened, and so little has changed,” Hart adds. “And it tells you this is a dead-even race.”
This poll – which was taken after the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, Obama’s announcement in support of gay marriage, fresh economic worries about Europe, and last month’s tepid jobs report – shows the Democrat leading Romney by four points among registered voters, 47 percent to 43 percent.
In April, Obama’s edge in the survey was two points higher, 49 percent to 43 percent.
In the newest poll, Obama leads Romney among African Americans (88 percent to 2 percent), 18 to 34 year olds (55 percent to 35 percent), women (53 percent to 38 percent), independents (44 percent to 36 percent), and seniors (46 percent to 44 percent).
Romney, meanwhile, holds the advantage with whites (52 percent to 39 percent), men (49 percent to 40 percent), suburban residents (47 percent to 41 percent), Midwest residents (48 percent to 43 percent), and high-interest voters (47 percent to 44 percent).
Yet attitudes about the economy and country’s direction appear to give Romney more than a puncher’s chance to make up his deficits against Obama.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.