Obama in Close Race With Romney in NY Times/CBS Poll

Mitt Romney and Donald Trump
Mitt Romney off of his campaign plane past Donald Trump's plane after landing at McCarran International Airport on May 29, 2012 in Las Vegas. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Voter disapproval of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is hindering his re-election prospects and keeping close his race with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a New York Times/CBS News national poll shows.

Romney is backed by 47 percent in the survey released today, Obama by 46 percent in figures that include voters who said they leaned toward one of the candidates. Excluding those voters, Romney led with 45 percent to 43 percent for Obama.

The results, while within the poll’s error margin of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points, represent the first time Romney has had an edge in the Times/CBS survey since he emerged as the presumptive Republican nominee in early April.

Obama led by 3 percentage points in a Times/CBS poll in March. The two were tied in an April survey with 46 percent each.

Since that poll, voter attitudes toward Obama’s economic record have declined. In the latest survey, 55 percent said they disapproved of his handling of the economy, while 39 percent expressed approval. In April, 48 percent disapproved and 44 percent approved.

In the latest poll, 49 percent said Romney would do a better job in dealing with the economy and unemployment, while 41 percent said Obama would. In the April survey, 33 percent said they saw improvement in the economy compared with 24 percent now.

Obama has an advantage on the question of concern for average Americans, with 63 percent saying the president does care while 55 percent said that of Romney. The president’s campaign has been focusing on depicting Romney as out of touch with most Americans.

The poll of 982 registered voters was conducted July 11-16.

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Frederick in Washington at dfrederick1@bloomberg.net

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