The already extremely close presidential election has gotten even closer. President Obama and Mitt Romney are perfectly tied at 47 percent each in the latest national poll of registered voters by Washington Post-ABC New.
The problem for Obama is that his job approval rating remains poor. His overall job approval rating is an anemic 47 percent approve to 49 percent disapprove, but his ratings on health care and the economy are dismal. Only 41 percent approve of how Obama has handled the issue of health care, while 52 percent disapprove. His numbers are equally bad on the more important issue of the economy, where he gets just 44 percent approve compared to 54 percent disapprove.
Obama’s terrible marks on the economy continue to allow Romney to hold the edge on that issue. Among registered voters 48 percent think Romney would do a better job with the economy, and only 45 percent think Obama would. Given that the economy is the all important issue, Romney’s advantage on it is helping to keep the race close.
The positive news for the Obama campaign is that Obama is seen as substantially more likable and empathetic than Romney. By an impressive 63 percent to 27 percent margin people say Obama is a more friendly and likable person. Similarly 50 percent say Obama is better able to understand the economic issues facing regular people compared to 40 percent who say that about Romney. It would seem the Obama campaign’s push to frame Romney as a rich, out of touch, outsourcer of jobs is pushing these divides even wider.