A new poll conducted for The Hill finds a majority of voters believe the country is worse off now than when President Barack Obama took office and that he has not earned reelection.
The poll, which was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on September 2, 2012, found 52 percent of likely voters believe the nation is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent feel Obama does not deserve reelection based on his job performance. Thirty one percent of the poll’s respondents believe the nation is in “better condition”, while 15 percent say it is “about the same”. Forty percent of voters said Obama deserves reelection.
The results reflect the level of voter dissatisfaction that Obama faces as he makes his case to lead the nation for another four years this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
The poll also suggests that Obama and the Democrats need to make the election a choice between the Democratic incumbent and the GOP nominee Mitt Romney, rather than a referendum on the president’s first term.
Voter unhappiness of his handling of the economy is Obama’s biggest hurdle to reelection. Fifty percent of voters are “very unsatisfied” with Obama’s handling of the economy with an additional 8 percent that are “somewhat unsatisfied”. Twenty three percent of those polled are “very satisfied” while another 17 percent said they are “somewhat satisfied”.
The Hill’s polling revealed that those that identify themselves as centrists, the voters that will determine the election outcome, have skepticism about the president’s ability to lead the economic recovery. The results on the three key questions highlight the challenge the Obama campaign faces in this election. Fifty two percent of centrists do not believe Obama deserves reelection based on his job performance, 56 percent are unsatisfied with his handling of the economy and 53 percent feel the country is worse off.
In addition to a majority of centrists feeling Obama has not earned a second term, 61 percent of “other” voters-those that were neither Democrat nor Republican-believe the president does not deserve another four years.
While men (57 percent) are more likely than women (51 percent) to believe Obama does not deserve reelection, it is of note that a slight majority of women don’t feel Obama has earned a second term. As the Obama team continues to hammer away at the GOP for a “war on women”, the results of the poll are surprising and indicate that a majority of women polled place the economy ahead of real or perceived social injustices highlighted by Democrats in their effort to support their assertions that a “war on women” is being conducted by the GOP.
The Obama campaign is facing challenges at both ends of the age spectrum as well. Fifty one percent of those 18 to 39 said the president does not deserve another term, with voters 65 and older showing the strongest anti-Obama sentiment with 65 percent saying he does not deserve reelection. With voters 40-64 the result was 53 percent that don’t believe Obama has earned reelection.
Considering it was the margin of victory with voters 18-39 and “other” (independents) that helped sweep Obama into the White House in 2008, the results of The Hill poll are surprising. In 2008 the under 30 and “other” blocks came out in record numbers and supported Obama by a two-to-one margin.
The poll suggests that the economy and perceived state of the nation’s recovery will be the number one issue when voters step into the voting booth on election day, now only 62 days away.
The poll consisted of five questions, included 1,000 likely voters with 51 percent of the respondents being women and 49 percent men. Those that identified themselves as Republicans accounted for 36 percent while 34 percent identified themselves as Democrats. The remaining 30 percent identified themselves as “other”. There is a +/- 3 margin of error.
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The Hill poll included a break down based on income that yielded additional surprises and will be discussed in a companion piece to be published Thursday, September 6.
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