Polling has consistently found that President Obama has the edge over Mitt Romney when it comes to character traits such as likability, honesty and empathy. Obama also has long held a big lead regarding who would best handle social issues. Basically, the only thing Mitt Romney had going for him was that he was perceived as best able to handle the economy, which is the issue voters care most about. After the conventions, however, Romney seems to have lost his main advantage.
The post-convention polling shows Obama is now tied or even slightly ahead of Romney on the issue of who would be best for the economy. The CNN poll found among likely voters, 50 percent think Obama would be best able to handle the economy compared to 49 percent for Romney. Just a week earlier, Romney had the edge with 51 percent believing Romney would be better for the economy, and 45 percent chosing Obama.
The new Washington Post/ABC News poll has similar results. Among registered voters they found 47 percent think Obama would do a better job with the economy, while 45 percent chose Romney. This is a huge swing from three weeks ago when Romney’s lead on this question was 50 percent to 43 percent for Obama.
What is amazing about this turn around is that while voters now give Obama a slight edge on the issue, they still believe Obama has done a sub-par job with the economy during his first term. The same Washington Post/ABC News poll found that Obama’s job approval rating on the economy is a disappointing 45 percent approval to 53 percent disapproval. That is only slightly improved from three weeks ago when it was 43/56.
With official unemployment still over 8 percent, the Obama campaign hasn’t been able to convince voters that he has done a good job handling the economy. Even so, the Romney campaign has failed to make the case that Romney could do any better.