The new New York Times/CBS poll shows a big swing in President Barack Obama‘s favour on what is still the most important issue of the 2012 presidential campaign: Voters now trust Obama over Republican Mitt Romney on handling the economy and unemployment.It’s a trend that has been seen in a few polls this week, but the Times/CBS poll shows an even more staggering gap — 50 per cent of registered voters chose Obama to handle the two issues compared with just 44 per cent for Romney.
The two issues are especially significant in this election — 41 per cent of voters said either the economy or jobs/unemployment would be the most important factor when voting in November.
For Obama, the swing from only a few weeks ago is incredible. In a late August poll, voters preferred Romney by a 14-point advantage — meaning Obama has swung the polls 18 points on the issues.
Among likely voters, too, he has shifted the numbers 15 points on the economy. 40-seven per cent of likely voters prefer Obama to handle the economy, compared with 46 per cent that choose Romney.
Here are a few numbers in the polls that have helped contribute to the swing:
- Obama has a huge 19-point edge on which candidate would “do more to help middle-class Americans.” That’s up from an 8-point advantage in August.
- Voters think Obama’s policies will do more to help the middle class, too. He has a 19-point edge, again, on whose policies would favour the middle class. An astounding 55 per cent think Romney’s policies would favour the rich.
- Obama has also swung the race on taxes — by a 9-point margin, voters trust him on taxes. That’s a swing from a 5-point disadvantage in July.
- 62 per cent of voters believe Obama “understands the problems of people like” them. That’s around the level it was before the 2008 election. Comparatively, only 43 per cent say the same of Romney (though that number is up from 31 per cent in February).
- In a recent Fox News poll, 49 per cent said Romney does not have a clear plan for improving the economy, compared with 42 per cent that said he did.
- Finally, overall, people are viewing the economy at its best point in years. A Gallup poll released Wednesday showed that U.S. satisfaction with where the country is headed hit its highest point (30 per cent) since August 2009. And the percentage of people who rate the economy as “good” in this CNN poll is the highest it’s been since … Obama’s election in January 2008. Those numbers aren’t good, but they contribute to the upswing for Obama.
Some of the numbers still don’t look great for the president, however. For example, 45 per cent still think the next generation will be worse off, compared with 31 per cent that think it will be better. And 41 per cent say his policies are not improving the economy and “probably never will.”
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