Barack Obama is still riding high on his post-convention bounce this morning, as yet another poll shows the President opening up his lead over Mitt Romney coming out of last week’s Democratic National Convention. The latest ABC/Washington Post poll, taken from Sept. 7-9, shows Obama leading Romney 50% to 44% among registered voters, although that advantage shrinks to just 1 point among likely voters.
But the more interesting numbers can be found deeper in the poll, on the question of which candidate would better handle the economy. For the first time this year, the poll shows voters trust Obama more to handle the economy, wiping out Romney’s advantage on the key issue of the 2012 election.
To be sure, Obama’s lead on the issue is slim — 47% to 45% — but that is still up significantly from the ABC/WaPo poll taken immediately before the convention, which had Romney beating Obama 50% to 43%.
Interestingly, the poll also shows that Obama has erased Romney’s advantage on the question of which candidate voters trust to handle taxes, basically reversing the pre-convention poll results to lead Romney 50% to 43%. And the President is closing in on the issue of handling the budget deficit, shrinking Romney’s 13-point pre-convention lead to just 3 points.
These numbers are likely to raise some alarm among the Romney campaign, which is already starting to show signs of panic as Obama solidifies his post-convention lead. In a memo Monday, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse warned against getting “too worked up” over the polling numbers, and dismissed Obama’s bounce as a “sugar high” that would fade as soon as voters realise that unemployment is still above 8%.
Newhouse’s memo echoes conventional Republican wisdom, which argues that there is just no way Obama can win re-election in this economic climate.
But the latest ABC/WaPo poll illustrates that voter sentiment on the economy may be more complex than the GOP bargained for. Take these numbers for example:
- 70-nine per cent of voters surveyed said their personal finances are worse or the same as they were when Obama took office. But half of those voters put little to no blame on Obama for their situation, and only 24% say they would have been better off financially under Romney.
- On the question of whether the overall economy was better off under Obama, 67% said that the country’s economic situation was the same or worse. In contrast to the personal finance question, 71% of these voters place at least some blame on Obama, and 38% per cent said that the country’s economy would have been better off under Romney.
The silver lining for Romney, however, is that history is still on his side. According to ABC News, no incumbent has been re-elected with September approval ratings below 50% since at least 1950. Obama’s job approval rating currently stands at 48%.
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