Presidential Race Tightens Again

May 10, 2012, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 5/5/2012) This week’s Economist/YouGov poll shows a re-tightened presidential race, with President Obama leading challenger Mitt Romney by only 44%-43% among registered voters.

Both the President and his challenger are suffering from poor — and nearly identical — favorability ratings among registered voters. 46% of registered voters report having a favorable view of President Obama, while 51% report having an unfavorable view of him. For Romney, those numbers are 45% and 50%, respectively.

One Romney advantage: Romney has a six-point lead with independents voters, a crucial group in the horserace. There is room for both candidates to improve with this group: over 20% of independents now say they are undecided or will vote for someone else.

But the former Massachusetts Governor faces one major obstacle: Americans are much more likely to think that the President will be re-elected than they are to think Romney will win in November. Republicans, as one might expect, are more hopeful about the outcome. 51% of Republicans expect a Romney win.

However, the President faces significant problems in terms of the public’s view of his tenure in office. For months now, his approval rating have been stuck in the low 40s. In this week’s poll, only 43% approve of the way he is handling his job. 49% disapprove.

Assessments of the President’s handling of the economy continue to be low: just 37% in this week’s poll approve of his handling of that issue. 35% think he holds a great deal or a lot of responsibility for the poor economic conditions of recent years. Another 21% give him some responsibility. (More still give responsibility to his predecessor, however. 54% say George W. Bush has a great deal or a lot of responsibility for recent economic problems.)

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association