November 16, 2011
11/16: Obama Runs Neck and Neck with Gingrich, Romney
McClatchy/Marist National Poll
Looking at the president’s re-election chances, nearly half of registered voters nationally — 48% — report they definitely plan to vote against Mr. Obama while 38% say they plan to support him. 14% are unsure. Little has changed on this question since McClatchy-Marist last reported it in September. At that time, 49% said they would not vote for the president while 36% thought they would. 15%, at the time, were unsure.
“All signs point to a hotly contested election next fall,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “What’s especially interesting in these numbers is that President Obama scores higher against his potential opponents than his approval rating or those who say they will definitely vote for him.”
When up against potential opponents vying for the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney pose the greatest challenge to President Obama.
- Obama and Gingrich are in a virtual dead heat. 47% of registered voters nationally back the president while 45% support Gingrich. Eight percent are undecided.
o By party, Gingrich — 47% — has a slight advantage over President Obama — 41% — among independent voters. Not surprisingly, most Democratic voters — 88% — favor the president while most Republicans — 84% — back Gingrich.
- When up against Mitt Romney, 48% support President Obama compared with 44% for Romney. Eight percent are undecided. In McClatchy-Marist’s September survey, 46% backed Obama while 44% were for Romney. 10%, then, were undecided.
o A majority of independent voters — 55% — back Romney while 39% support Obama. Eight in ten Republican voters — 80% — are for Romney while 85% of Democratic voters are behind Obama.
- The president has an eight percentage point lead against Ron Paul. In this matchup, nearly half — 49% — say they plan to vote for the president while 41% believe they will cast their ballot for Paul. One in ten — 10% — is undecided.
o Independent voters divide. 44% support the president while 42% back Paul. Not surprisingly, most Democrats — 89% — rally for Obama while nearly eight in ten Republicans — 78% — are for Paul.
- Against Herman Cain, President Obama has a 10 percentage point lead. In this contest, nearly half of registered voters nationally — 49% — say Obama is their choice while 39% are for Cain. 11% are undecided.
o While support divides along party lines, Obama has the advantage among independent voters — 48% are for Obama compared with 38% for Cain. Among Democrats, 87% plan to vote for the president while 80% of Republican voters say they will cast their ballot for Cain.
- When head-to-head with Rick Perry, a slim majority of voters — 51% — are for Obama while 40% support Perry, an 11 percentage point lead for the president. Nine percent are undecided.
- Obama’s advantage widens over Michele Bachmann. In this contest, he outpaces Bachmann by 19 percentage points. Obama receives the support of a majority — 54% — to 35% for Bachmann. 11% are undecided.
Three’s a Crowd for Romney … Obama Widens Lead with Third Party Candidate
If Mitt Romney secures the GOP nomination, a third party candidate would spell trouble. Whereas Obama and Romney run competitively when head-to-head, Obama widens his lead with an independent candidate in the race. When Donald Trump enters the mix as an independent candidate, a plurality — 45% — support Obama, 36% back Romney, and 13% are for Trump. Seven percent are undecided.
If Ron Paul does not receive his party’s nomination and chooses to run on an independent line, 42% are for Obama while 33% are behind Romney. A notable 19% support Paul, and 6% are undecided.
Slight Bounce in Obama’s Approval Rating … Voters Remain Down on Handling of Economy
President Obama’s approval rating has edged up slightly. 43% of registered voters nationally currently approve of the job the president is doing in office while half — 50% — disapprove, and 7% are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in September, the president’s approval rating was at its all-time low of 39%. At that time, 52% disapproved of Mr. Obama’s performance in office while 9% were unsure.
However, there has been little change on how voters view the president’s handling of the economy and foreign policy.
Nearly six in ten voters — 59% — disapprove of the way Mr. Obama is dealing with the economy while 36% approve, and 4% are unsure. In September, 61% gave the president low marks on the economy while 33% gave him a thumbs-up. Six percent, at the time, were unsure.
Looking at President Obama’s handling of foreign policy, voters remain divided. 49% approve while 45% disapprove, and 6% are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April, 48% disapproved, and 46% approved. Six percent, then, were unsure.
And, voters remain divided about the president’s favorability. Nearly half — 49% — have an unfavorable impression of the president while 47% have a favorable one, and 4% are unsure. Similar proportions of voters shared these views in September. At that time, 48% had a negative view of the president, 46% had a positive one, and 5% were unsure.
Americans Remain Pessimistic about the Future of the Nation
When thinking about the direction of the country, seven in ten adults nationally — 70% — think the nation is moving on the wrong path while one in four — 25% — say it is traveling on the right one. Four percent are unsure.
There has been little change on this question since McClatchy-Marist last reported it in September. At that time, 73% believed the country was on the wrong track while 22% said it was on the right one. Five percent, at the time, were unsure.
Making Political Waves in 2012? More Think Tea Party will Have Larger Impact than OWS
Which movement do voters think will have the greater influence over the outcome of the 2012 presidential election? Half of registered voters — 50% — believe the Tea Party will have a larger impact than the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, about one-third — 33% — say the Occupy Wall Street movement will have more influence. Five percent say neither will affect the result, and less than 1% thinks both will have an impact. 11% are unsure.
However, there is a split decision on which movement comes closer to voters’ views. 40% say the Tea Party movement better reflects their beliefs while the same proportion — 40% — report Occupy Wall Street does. 10% think neither mirrors their views while less than 1% say both do. Nine percent are unsure.
How many voters support these two movements? Looking at the Tea Party, 66% of voters do not back the movement while 25% do. Nine percent are unsure.
When it comes to the Occupy Wall Street movement, 60% do not support it while 29% do. 11% of registered voters are unsure.
- Nearly half of Republican voters — 49% — back the Tea Party movement while 27% of independent voters and just 5% of Democratic voters say the same.
- Looking at the Occupy Wall Street movement, Democratic voters divide with 43% saying they do back the movement and the same proportion — 43% — saying they do not. 30% of independent voters and 11% of Republican voters support the movement.