A perception that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is best to lead the economy may have powered him to a slim 1-point lead in a new CBS News/New York Times poll released Wednesday.
Romney leads President Obama 47 percent to 46 percent among registered voters, and is viewed as being better to handle the economy by a 49 percent to 41 percent margin. Pessimism over the economy dominates the survey, though Obama is viewed as more likely to help the middle class, 52 percent to 38 percent.
“In the wake of disappointing jobs reports and weak economic news, Americans’ views of the economy have become more negative in this poll,” pollsters wrote. “The percentage that says it is improving has dropped to 24% from 33% in April, and 30% now say it is getting worse. The President’s approval rating on handling the economy remains low, at 39%. 64% say his policies have contributed at least some to the economic downturn.”
But one trend continues to hound Romney in the CBS/NYT poll — more voters are eager to replace Obama than they are enthusiastic about Romney himself. Fifty-two percent of Obama voters “strongly favor” their candidate, while 37 percent say they like Obama “with reservations” and 8 percent that say they simply dislike Romney.
Romney doesn’t have the same kind of support from his side. Only 29 percent strongly favor Romney, 32 percent are lukewarm and 37 percent support Romney because they are opposed to President Obama. But CBS/NYT also suggests the GOP is more fired up overall:
Overall, a third of registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting in this election compared to past elections - but that masks a sizable difference between Republicans and Democrats. 49% of Republicans are more enthusiastic, compared to just 27% of Democrats. Similarly, 48% of Romney voters are enthusiastic, compared to 23% of those supporting President Obama. Republican enthusiasm is growing, having risen from 36% in March.
In March 2008, with a heated fight for the Democratic nomination underway, 41% of voters were more enthusiastic than usual about voting.
The PollTracker Average of the national race shows President Obama with a 1.5 percent lead.
The CBS News/New York Times poll was conducted July 11-16 using live phone interviews with samples of 1,089 adults and 942 registered voters. The margin of error for each sample is 3 percentage 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.