The Election Contest: Narrow Edge For The President

June 13, 2012, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 6/9/2012) President Obama continues to hold a narrow lead over Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. But the margin is so narrow it falls within the poll’s margin of error. 44% of registered voters in this week’s poll say they will vote for the President if the election were being held today, while 42% would vote for Romney.

There is a gender gap. The President leads 46% to 37% with women, but trails Romney by five points among men. Obama is more popular with younger voters than with older ones. However, strong support — and turnout — by young voters helped the President win in 2008, while this year there are concerns about how many young voters will actually turn out in November. Independent voters, who supported Obama in 2008, are now closely divided. 41% of independents now say they will vote for Romney, 38% will vote for the President.

One advantage the President has is that Democrats have a much more favorable attitude toward him than Republicans do toward Romney. 68% of Democrats believe the President mostly says what he believes, only 47% of Republicans think that about their candidate. More telling: 65% of Democrats say they like Obama as a person "a lot," and only 22% of Republicans think that way about Romney (though 55% of Republicans like Romney "somewhat").

The fact that Democrats express more positive feelings about Obama than Republicans do about Romney may not matter in the final vote count, however. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, an equally high percentage of Democrats and Republicans (86%) say they would vote for their party’s candidate if the election were held today.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association