A new national poll from CNN shows President Obama with a 3 point lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, down from the 9 percent lead Obama held in the cable network’s April polling at the end of the GOP primary process.
But what is sure to be a major factor in a close election — voter enthusiasm — tilts toward Obama in the CNN poll. “Although the race for the White House is essentially tied, Obama does have one big advantage: His supporters right now are far more enthusiastic about him,” CNN wrote. “More than six in ten Obama voters say they strongly support the president, while only 47% of Romney voters feel that way about their candidate.”
On the one hand, those numbers are up from CNN’s April poll: a month and half ago, only 35 percent of Romney voters said they were voting for him, versus 63 percent who said they were voting against Obama. Romney’s general favorability has also ticked up since he became the nominee and the party faithful have rallied around him, and he continues to do well with independent voters — Romney takes 51 percent in the CNN poll, against Obama’s 39. But Obama builds a lead by pulling more from his own party, and more self-described “moderate” voters.
As has been the case in 2012, CNN pointed to economic conditions as the overwhelming factor in the race:
According to the survey, one in five questioned say neither candidate can fix the economy, with another one in five saying the economy will recover regardless of who wins in November. Among the rest, once again there is no clear advantage - 31% say economic conditions will improve only if Romney wins; 28% think things will get better only if Obama stays in office.
The poll was conducted Tuesday through Thursday, before the release of Friday’s of the May unemployment numbers. According to the disappointing report from the Labor Department, the nation’s unemployment level edged up to 8.2% last month, with only 69,000 jobs created in May.
The TPM Poll Average shows President Obama with a smal 2.1 percent lead in the race so far.
The CNN poll used 895 live telephone interviews with registered voters nationally conducted from May 29th to the 31st. The poll has a sampling error of 3.5 points.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.