Obama Holds 5-Point Edge Over Romney Among Likely Voters in Poll

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Matt Dowd talks with Bloomberg's Tom Keene about the latest from the 2012 presidential campaign, and likens Mitt Romney's relationship with the Republican party to that of an arranged marriage. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance."

President Barack Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney even as a majority of voters continues to disapprove of the president’s handling of the U.S. economy, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Obama holds a five-point advantage over Romney, 50 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters in the nationwide survey conducted Sept. 12-16. Obama led Romney by 50 percent to 44 percent among registered voters in the poll released yesterday.

The results reflect the small advantage Obama has enjoyed in some polls since the Democratic National Convention two weeks ago in Charlotte, North Carolina. Other surveys have shown the race tightening after a post-convention lift for Obama. The Gallup tracking poll gives Obama 47 percent support and Romney 46 percent in a rolling seven-day average through Sept. 17.

Slideshow: A Gallery of Political Gaffes

The NBC/Journal poll underscores the small share of voters who say they have yet to make a choice between Obama and Romney before the Nov. 6 election. In the survey, 3 percent said they were “not sure” who they would support, 1 percent answered “depends,” and 1 percent answered “neither/other.”

Economy Question

By 51 percent to 47 percent, registered voters disapproved rather than approved of Obama’s handling of the economy. Still, that’s the best showing for the president on that question in the survey since May 2010. And the figures are an improvement from last month when the poll showed 54 percent disapproving of his record on the economy and 44 percent approving.

On Obama’s overall performance in office, 50 percent of registered voters approved in the latest poll; in August, that figure was 48 percent. Obama and Romney are tied at 43 percent on the question of who would be better at dealing with the economy. Republican officials say 43 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent show that Obama’s policies have failed, while Democrats point to 30 straight months of private- sector job growth as evidence the president’s programs have helped pull the U.S. out of its worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

On other issues, 49 percent of registered voters approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, down from 54 percent last month. The survey was conducted after Sept. 11 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic mission that led to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi.

Obama Advantages

Poll respondents gave Obama double-digit advantages over Romney on who would be better in dealing with issues of concern to women, looking out for the middle class and handling Medicare.

The survey was conducted before Mother Jones magazine posted excerpts of a leaked video from a May campaign fundraiser at which Romney described 47 percent of Americans as government- dependent “victims” who will vote for Obama “no matter what.” Romney last night told reporters his comments weren’t “elegantly stated,” even as he declined to disavow them.

The poll’s sampling margin of error was plus or minus 3.3 percentage points for 900 registered voters and plus or minus 3.6 percentage points for 736 likely voters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bloomberg.net

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

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.