Even as Democrats attack his business record, Mitt Romney comes out ahead of President Obama on most economic issues in the eyes of voters, according to a Gallup/USA Today poll released on Tuesday. Obama rated higher than Romney on foreign affairs as well as personal likability.
On the federal deficit, the economy, and creating jobs, the presumptive GOP nominee sits at 50 percent or higher. On reducing the deficit, Romney polled 19 points higher than Obama. On handling the economy, 51 percent found Romney more suitable, compared with 41 percent for Obama.
The numbers come in the face of the Obama campaign’s efforts in recent weeks to question Romney's background in finance as the head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital. Democrats also have called on Romney to release more of his tax returns, something the Romney campaign has resisted doing.
By a 63 percent to 29 percent margin, those surveyed said that Romney's background in business, including his work at Bain, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation's economic problems over the next four years.
Overall, 52 percent of those polled disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, the highest level for this poll in 2012. Obama’s approval rating for the economy sits at 45 percent.
With these poor economic numbers for the president, 43 percent of Democrats and those leaning Democratic are less enthusiastic about voting in this election, while 39 percent are more enthusiastic. Fifty-one percent of Republicans and those leaning Republican are more enthusiastic; 33 percent are less enthusiastic.
The roles were reversed in poll questions on foreign affairs. Among those polled, 52 percent found the president better suited on this issue, compared with 40 percent who found Romney more qualified. The Obama campaign has touted the killing of Osama bin Laden and the return of U.S. troops from Iraq.
And by an overwhelming 30 percentage-point margin, 60 percent of voters found Obama more likable than Romney. Those polled also found Obama understands the problems of their daily lives by a 50 percent to 39 percent margin. Forty-seven percent also found Obama more honest and trustworthy, eight points higher than the presumptive nominee.
Romney polls higher, though, among those who think he can get things done, polling at 46 percent, which is 5 percentage points higher than the president.
Despite substantial negative advertising from both campaigns, a majority of those polled found that neither Obama nor Romney have crossed the line in their attacks. The president seemed to call out the negative ads in the campaign in an ad released on Monday. “Sometimes politics can seem very small,” Obama said. “But the choice you face, it couldn’t be bigger.”
The poll was conducted between July 19 and July 22 with 1,030 adults. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.