(Week of 8/4/2012) By 34% to 20%, Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll think that Romney’s trip to Great Britain, Israel and Poland hurt rather than helped his presidential candidacy. Some of his statements on that trip were criticized, and Democratic voters, in particular, internalized that criticism.
Nearly two out of three Obama voters think Romney’s trip hurt his campaign; fewer Romney supporters (50%) thought it helped.
But the Republican doesn’t fare all that differently from President Obama on public perceptions of his foreign policy skills. More Americans think a Romney victory will make the U.S. safer and more respected by other countries than think that about an Obama victory (though this may be partly because many don’t expect a change in these matters — either for better or worse — in a second Obama term).
Another possible reason for why some Americans think the U.S. will be safer with a President Romney is that they believe it is more likely that Romney will increase defense spending as President. 51% expect a President Romney to increase defense spending; only 9% say President Obama will do that in a second term.
But the two men are still fighting a tight battle for public support overall. Among all registered voters, including those who "lean" towards one man or the other, the two are running neck and neck: President Obama has the support of 46%, while Governor Romney has the support of 45%.
It is still a contest about the President: 77% of his supporters say they are mostly voting "for" him; more than half the Romney voters say they are mostly voting "against" President Obama.
Photo source: Press Association