Obama Enters Convention With Lowest Incumbent Ratings Since ’84

More voters had an unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama than favorable going into the Democratic National Convention that began tonight, with his lowest ratings among women since he took office, a poll found.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey found 49 percent of registered voters disapproving of Obama, compared with 47 percent viewing him favorably. The poll gave the highest unfavorable rating of any incumbent going back to 1984, and he is the first incumbent in the survey with a higher unfavorable than favorable rating.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney was viewed unfavorably by 48 percent and favorably by 43 percent. Before the Republicans gathered last week, Romney was viewed unfavorably by 51 percent and favorably by 40 percent.

The latest ABC-Post survey gave Obama a 3 percentage-point advantage among men, 50 percent favorable to 47 percent unfavorable, and a 4-point deficit among women, 46 percent to 50 percent. In the survey released Aug. 26, Obama was viewed favorably by 48 percent of men and 51 percent of women and unfavorably by 49 percent of men and 45 percent of women.

Women voters had viewed Romney unfavorably by 55 percent to 34 percent before the Republican convention. The latest poll narrowed that gap to 7 points, 48 percent unfavorable and 41 percent favorable.

The Democratic convention began tonight by showcasing women candidates.

Platform Differences

The party’s platform endorses abortion rights, while the Republican platform calls for a constitutional amendment that would ban the procedure. The Republican vice presidential nominee, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has sponsored legislation to redefine rape as “forcible rape” before an abortion could be paid for with federal funds. The provision was later removed from the bill.

Another co-sponsor of the legislation was Representative Todd Akin of Missouri, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri. Akin said Aug. 19 that women who experienced “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.

The poll of 842 registered voters was taken Aug. 29-Sept. 2 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Charlotte, North Carolina, at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.

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