ABC/WaPo poll: Romney runs even with Obama in trial heat but lacks significant lead in GOP race


There’s good news and not-so-good news for Mitt Romney in a new poll released this morning.

The survey shows Romney doing well in a hypothetical match-up with President Obama. But the former Massachusetts governor has yet to take anything resembling a solid lead in the race for the Republican nomination.

The poll also indicates a drop in Obama’s job-approval rating.

The story is HERE.

A few excerpts:

In a general-election trial heat in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll [Romney] runs evenly with Barack Obama among all Americans, and numerically outpoints him, 49-46 percent, among registered voters — not a statistically significant lead, given sampling error, but a clear reflection of Obama’s vulnerability to a well-positioned challenger.


Overall, 21 percent of leaned Republicans support Romney for the nomination, 17 percent Palin, with all others in single digits. Still, while those two lead, the flipside is that each is not supported by eight in 10 potential GOP voters, indicating plenty of room to move as the field coalesces and voters tune in. Today just 22 percent of Americans (and 24 percent of leaned Republicans) are following the 2012 presidential election very closely.


The president’s bin Laden bounce is gone. He had a 47 percent job approval rating in April. That bounced to 56 percent in a Post/Pew poll immediately after Osama bin Laden was killed. It’s back, exactly, to 47 percent now. Forty-nine percent disapprove of the president’s performance, including 53 percent of independents, and strong disapprovers outnumber strong approvers by 10 points



  1. expdoc

    I saw an interview with Romney last night that was pretty impressive.

    Most Republicans don’t like him because of the apparent conflict between Obamacare and Romneycare, but he did a pretty good job of explaining the difference (state control vs federal mandate) and admitting that it had not yet controlled costs as he had hoped.

    He is clearly a smart guy and I personally have no issue with the Mormon thing. I think it will be very interesting to see how this plays out, particularly once he goes up against the other candidates in a meaningful debate.

  2. Neftali

    Its the economy, specifically unemployment numbers. Pat loves Obama vs. Reagan comparisons so here goes:

    The unemployment trends between the two Presidents have so far been very similar. Both started out with under 8% only to watch it grow.

    Jan 1981 7.5%
    Jan 2009 7.8%

    JUL 1981 7.2%
    JUL 2009 9.5%

    Jan 1982 8.6%
    JAN 2010 9.7%

    JUL 1982 9.8%
    JUL 2010 9.5%

    JAN 1983 10.4%
    JAN 2011 9%

    May 1983 10.1%
    May 2011 9.1%

    JAN 1984 8.0%
    JAN 2012 ??

    OCT 1984 7.4%
    OCT 2012 ??

    The only glaring difference is that recent unemployment (hopefully) peaked in October 2009 at 10.1% which is the end of Obama’s 1st year. Reagan’s peaked at 10.8% during Nov/Dec 1982, which is the end of Reagan’s 2nd year.

    However, by this time in Reagan’s 3rd year unemployment started dropping, once again going under 8% by the time his 2nd election came around in 1984.

    Unemployment is slowly going down right now. It briefly went under 9% before recently creeping up again. If Obama can get it under 8% in the next 18 months, he likely will win re-election. If it continues to hang around 9%, he’s gone. It doesn’t matter if its Romney, or even Palin that’s the nominee.


  3. Good work, Neftali — even if your conjecture about Palin is patently wrong. Go to the head of the class.

  4. Neftali

    Thanks, Pat. Compliments are rare from you. I’ll try to keep this one in mind the next time I’m crucified.

    This is a complete coincidence, but I just now read Nate Silver’s latest column. He also makes a lengthy comparison between Obama and Reagan. Of course, his is much more detailed.


    I find his his last paragraph especially noteworthy:

    “If there is a credible case to be made that the economy is getting better — when coupled with what is likely to be a strong case on foreign policy — then Mr. Obama is likely to be given the benefit of the doubt by voters. But if you instead see the White House spending more of its time blaming Mr. Bush for the state of the economy, that’s a sign that they’re afraid of Mr. Reagan’s question — and may have reached a stage where they’re the underdogs in the race.”

  5. expdoc

    I’m not sure I agree with Silver’s forgone conclusion about foreign policy being a strength for Obama in 2102. There are a whole lot of bad things that could happen in the Middle East in the next 17months.

  6. Neftali

    expdoc – On matters of protocol Obama has been a borderline embarrassment. The bows, botched gifts, and fumbled toasts are cringing.

    On the bigger issues he’s not much better. He was weak in his stance on the Iraq election protests, he escalated the war in Afghanistan, no one is quite sure what our stance on Libya is, and regardless of facts, he somehow upset Israel’s Prime Minister enough that when Netanyahu delivered his speech to Congress, they made sure to give him more standing ovations than what Obama received in his State of the Union address to make up for the perceived blunder.

    However, Osama bin Laden was killed under Obama’s watch. That victory alone pretty much trumps his previous failures. In the eyes of most people that really don’t follow politics, or are not mindful of worldly affairs, that’s a huge one. Heck, its a big deal no matter how you slice it. So huge that Silver is right in that Foreign Policy is a strength for Obama for undecided voters.

  7. expdoc

    If there is another major terrorist attack on US interests, the Middle East violence escalates, we are forced to increase our involvement in Libya or Iran demonstrates that they have a nuclear weapon, all of the good feelings about the death of Osama bin Laden will be ancient history.

  8. expdoc: I disagree with your analysis on one point, the part about Iran demonstrating that it has a nuclear weapon.

    I don’t see how that would work against Obama’s approval ratings. It might even have the opposite effect. Americans tend to stand by their president when some foreign power acts like a menacing bully.

    Beyond economic sanctions, what do you think Obama should do about Iran?

  9. Neftali: “Bows”?

    You’ve been watching too much Fox News.

    Every American president of the past 60 years, at least, has bowed to certain foreign dignitaries.

    Check the photos herein:


  10. Neftali: Your mention of “bows” also reminds me of a big fuss over such stuff in 2009.

    On a trip to Asia in the fall of that year, President Obama politely bowed to the emperor of Japan — a gesture that immediately rendered American right-wingers downright apoplectic.

    The wingnut blogosphere went ballistic over the shame of it all. The rabble-rousers on Fox News showed photos and video of the disgraceful gesture over and over and over again. They were all quite sure that this would be the last straw. This would finally seal Obama’s reputation among patriotic Americans as a groveling toady on the international stage.

    The delight (masked by mock shame) among the loonies was palpable. Fox News quickly commissioned a poll to measure the domestic political damage incurred by Obama from such self-humiliation.

    But, wonder of wonders! The poll showed that 67 percent of Americans considered it entirely appropriate for their president ”to bow to a foreign leader if that is the country’s custom,” and only 26 percent felt that it was ”never appropriate for the president to bow to another leader.”

  11. expdoc


    For starters, the U.S. official policy should be regime change in Iran. We should re-evaluate the ongoing, useless talks with the Iranian regime on its nuclear weapons program, which have the effect of legitimizing the regime and depressing the opposition. Instead, in international bodies and with allies we should pursue a full court press to isolate the Iranian regime and highlight its dismal human rights record. South Africa faced international ostracism for apartheid. We likewise should seek to turn Iran into a pariah state, not merely because it defies international norms on nuclear proliferation, but because it promotes terrorism abroad and represses its own people.

    George Will on ABC’s This Week observed, “All modern tyrannies have depended on intellectual autarky, being able to seal of the consciousness of their people from the outside world. . . . It can’t be done any more.” And we should do everything we can to breakdown this stranglehold that aging despots exercise throughout the region. In other words, we should practice real Muslim Outreach — engagement of and support for freedom and democratic institutions. That is the only path to that elusive stability, which this administration wrongly pursued by engaging the worst of the region’s despots (e.g. Syria, Iran).

  12. Neftali

    I think this statement explains it:

    “Update: Of course, it’s always possible that the poll’s question is flawed in that it didn’t make it clear enough how deeply Obama bowed and how weak and prostrate he really looked.”


    In the first pic, Bush is praying before the pope = Acceptable
    In the 2nd pic Bush is receiving a medal = Acceptable
    in the 3rd pic Bush is doing that weird European kissing thing = Acceptable
    The gesture in the 4th pic is obviously unintentional
    I like the Regan and dog pic.
    Ike is giving more of a deep nod to the French Pres. = Acceptable (This is probably want many poll takers had in mind)
    In the last pic Nixon is hunching over to look the Japanese Emperor in the eye = Acceptable (or this type of bow is also common)

    Obama looks like a contortionist or that he is groveling to the Japanese Emperor. He’s purposely lowering his head below the emporer’s admittingly short stature and not looking him in the eye as some weird amateurish display of kindness = Unacceptable

  13. The GOP motto no compermise is not what america was built on America is a democracy, not a dictatorship,The GOP Baine an company, closed American jobs , and sent those jobs over seas Romney is not qualified, He is a barker, This is not what America was built o.n

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *