Obama And Romney Both Have Economic Vulnerabilities

June 13, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 6/9/2012) This fall’s presidential campaign will focus on the country’s most important issue — the state of the economy. More than eight in ten registered voters claim a candidate’s position on economic issues will be most or very important in their vote choice, more than say that about social issues or foreign policy issues. However, the latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds the economy to be an issue on which both candidates have weaknesses.

Americans are somewhat more likely to expect a worsening economy rather than an improving one no matter which candidate wins in November. 39% think the economy will get worse if the President is re-elected (30% think it will improve), 33% expect a worsening economy with a President Romney (only 26% think it will get better).

Those earning less than $40,000 a year and those earning more than $100,000 are more likely to think the economy will worsen in an Obama second term than to think it will improve. But while the former group is even more likely to predict a worsening economy if Romney wins, those with incomes over $100,000 are much more closely divided on the effect of a Romney Presidency. 39% of those with incomes over $100,000 say the economy will improve during a Romney presidency, while 34% say it will get worse.

Recent economic news has not been good: two weeks ago, just 30% thought the economy was worsening. That percentage rose to 39% after the most recent jobs report. Again this week, 39% say the economy is getting worse.

Just 36% approve of how the President is currently handling the economy, about the same as that rating has been for a while. But the President has some advantages over Romney: while majorities describe both men as personally wealthy (84% say this about the President, 93% about Romney), more say Obama cares about people like themselves and about the middle class than say that about Romney, who is much more likely to be thought of as someone who cares about the wealthy.