President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are locked in a close contest among registered voters nationally. The president, however, leads his other potential GOP challengers.
Among registered voters nationally, here are how these hypothetical contests shape up:
- Obama has 46% to 44% for Romney. Nine percent are undecided. In McClatchy-Marist’s November survey, Obama — 48% — edged Romney — 44% — with 8% undecided.
- Against Santorum, Obama has 48% to 43% for Santorum. Nine percent are undecided.
- Obama — 50% — leads Paul — 40% — by 10 percentage points. 10% are undecided. In November, Obama — 49% — had a similar lead against Paul — 41%. 10%, then, were undecided.
- The president outpaces Gingrich, 53% to 38%. Nine percent are undecided. In November, voters divided. 47% were for Obama compared with 45% for Gingrich. Eight percent, at that time, were undecided.
“Despite the twists and turns of the GOP primary contest, little has changed in an Obama-Romney matchup,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The electorate is polarized and voters are mostly decided. Don’t expect dramatic swings in voter sentiments along the general election campaign trail.”
If Romney were to receive the Republican nomination and round out the ticket with Jeb Bush as his running mate, the alliance would be beneficial. 47% of registered voters would back Obama and Biden while the same proportion — 47% — would support Romney and Bush. Six percent are undecided.
However, the Democratic ticket would lead, 49% to 44%, if Romney chose Marco Rubio as his running mate. Eight percent are undecided.
If Santorum were the nominee and joined forces with Newt Gingrich, Obama and Biden would receive majority support — 51% — to 42% for Santorum and Gingrich. Seven percent are undecided.
GOP and Dems Battle for Support on Social Issues … Just 35% Excited for Fall Vote
When it comes to social issues, 47% of registered voters nationally say the Democratic party more closely reflects their views while 44% report the Republican party comes closer to their position on these issues. 10% are unsure.
Just 35% of U.S. registered voters express a high level of enthusiasm about voting in November’s presidential election while 37% say they are somewhat enthusiastic. 17% are not too enthusiastic, and 11% of voters are not enthusiastic at all.
- On enthusiasm the Democrats — 83% — have an early advantage over Republicans — 70%.
- However, voters who strongly support the Tea Party — 57% — and those who are most conservative — 47% — are very enthusiastic. 51% of African American voters share this view, but only 13% of voters under thirty have this level of enthusiasm.
The Favorability Factor
President Obama’s image is on the mend, but how do his potential GOP opponents rate?
- Half of registered voters nationally — 50% — have a favorable view of President Obama while 46% have an unfavorable impression of him. Three percent are unsure. In November, 49% had an unfavorable opinion of the president while 47% thought well of him. Four percent, at that time, were unsure.
- Voters divide about Romney’s favorability. 45% have a favorable impression of him while the same proportion — 45% — have a lesser opinion of him. 10% are unsure.
- Looking at Santorum’s favorability, nearly half — 48% — have a negative impression of him while 39% think well of him, and 13% are unsure.
How do voters describe the political stance of President Obama, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum?
- 47% of registered voters believe President Obama’s ideology is about right while 40% think he is too liberal. Seven percent say he is too conservative, and 6% are unsure.
- Four in ten registered voters — 40% — perceive Romney’s ideology to be on target. 31% say he is too conservative while 16% think he is too liberal. 13% are unsure.
- While 40% of registered voters report Santorum is too conservative, a similar proportion — 37% — thinks his ideology is about right. Only 10% believe he is too liberal, and 13% are unsure.
Romney Leads GOP Opponents Nationally
Which Republican candidate will face off against President Obama in November’s general election? Romney currently edges his competition among Republicans and Republican leaning independents nationally.
Here is how the contest stands:
- 39% for Mitt Romney
- 31% for Rick Santorum
- 13% for Newt Gingrich
- 13% for Ron Paul
- 4% are undecided
If the race comes down to Romney and Santorum, Romney leads Santorum, 50% to 44%. Six percent are undecided.
Boost in Obama’s Approval Rating
Registered voters nationally divide about President Obama’s job performance. 48% approve of the job he is doing. 47% disapprove, and 5% are unsure.
Mr. Obama’s job performance is on an upswing. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in November, half — 50% — gave Mr. Obama a thumbs-down while 43% applauded his job performance. Seven percent, at the time, were unsure.
More Approve of President’s Handling of Economy, But Majority Still Disapprove
Although a majority of registered voters nationally — 51% — disapprove of how the president is handling the nation’s economy, there has been an increase in the proportion of voters — 46% — who approve of Obama’s performance on this issue. Three percent are unsure. This is the highest approval rating the president has received on the issue of the economy since January of 2011 when 44% thought he was handling the economy well and matches his highest approval rating on the economy in June of 2010. In November, 36% gave Mr. Obama high marks, 59% thought he fell short, and 4% were unsure.
Nearly six in ten voters — 58% — say Obama inherited the nation’s current financial situation while 37% think it is mostly a result of the president’s own policies. Five percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in November, 60% reported the president inherited these conditions while 32% said his policies contributed to them.
When it comes to foreign policy, 50% of registered voters approve of how the president is dealing with the issue. 45% disapprove, and 5% are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in November, 49% approved of the way the president was handling foreign policy while 45% disapproved. Six percent were unsure.
More View Nation Headed in the Right Direction
While a majority of adults nationally still view the country as headed in the wrong direction, there has been a major shift in public opinion. 53%, now, believe the nation is on the wrong track while 43% say it is on the right one, and 4% are unsure. The proportion of residents who think the nation is moving on the proper path is the highest since March of 2010 when 43% also shared this view.
In November, seven in ten adults — 70% — thought the country was moving on the wrong road while 25% said she was on the right path. Four percent were unsure.
Congressional Approval Ratings Still Low, But GOP and Dems See Slight Bump
31% of registered voters nationally approve of the job the Republicans in Congress are doing, 62% disapprove, and 8% are unsure. In November, 23% thought they were doing well while seven in ten — 70% — gave them low marks. Seven percent were unsure.
When it comes to the Democrats in Congress, 34% approve of their job performance, 59% disapprove, and 7% are unsure.
In November, 28% approved of how they were performing in office, 65% disapproved, and 7% were unsure.
Nearly Half Say GOP Candidate will Receive Support in Congressional Races
Looking to November’s elections for Congress, 47% say they will cast their ballot for the Republican candidate in their district while 43% believe they will support the Democratic candidate. Three percent do not support either party’s candidate, and 7% are undecided.