President Obama Keeps Post-Convention Lead

September 19, 2012, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 9/15/2012) President Obama’s post-convention bounce has lasted longer than one week, according to the latest Economist/YouGov poll. In this weeks poll, 9% of registered voters say they will vote or are leaning towards voting for President Obama this fall, while 44% plan to support his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. This spread is nearly identical to last week’s.

The President maintains a sizable lead among women voters, while men narrowly favor Romney. Independents, one group that will eventually determine the outcome, lean towards the President, 50% to 40%.

The two men run neck-and-neck among registered voters on the question of who would better handle the economy, the country’s most important issue according to nearly two in five Americans. The public is also closely divided on issues like health care, terrorism, and taxes.

The close margin on the economy may actually suggest a weakness on Romney’s part, and a gain for the President, who has had horrible approval ratings on his handling of the economy for several years. Prior to the Democratic Convention, just 36% approved of his economic stewardship. That number jumped eight points after the convention to 44%. It is down again slightly this week, to 43%, but still higher than it had been in the recent past. In addition, nearly four in ten Americans still see the country’s economy as getting worse. Only 29% this week say it’s improving. But even that weak number is somewhat better than it was before the conventions.

President Obama has a clear lead on handling the environment and education, as well as on social matters like abortion. Romney is slightly ahead when it comes to the budget deficit.

The President has another advantage—he is better liked by potential voters. While registered voters are now slightly more likely to have a favorable opinion of President Obama than an unfavorable one, they are more likely to hold an unfavorable opinion of Romney. Just 42% of registered voters have a favorable view of him.

On another pair of questions measuring likeability, 43% of registered voters say they like the President "a lot." Less than half that number like Romney a lot. Over four in ten dislike the GOP candidate, something just 27% of registered voters say about the President.

Voters also believe the President more than they believe Romney. Only 35% of registered voters say they think the Republican mostly says what he really believes. A majority thinks he mostly says what he thinks people want to hear. Voters split evenly when it comes to the President’s sincerity, which is still a better assessment than their view of Romney.