As Republicans aim to boost Mitt Romney's likability among voters at next week's convention, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds President Obama continues to hold a sizable advantage over his rival in that area.
The poll found that 54 percent of those surveyed considered Obama more likable, compared witho 31 percent for Romney. That finding echoes previous polls and is considered a leading reason why the president remains competitive despite the protracted sluggish economy.
Romney, however, still has the edge on whom voters trust more to manage the economy, 52 percent to 43 percent. The former Massachusetts governor also led on the question of who could better address the federal budget deficit, 54 percent to 39 percent.
The poll did find that Obama's likability advantage over Romney has shrunk since May, when the president had a 35-percentage-point lead in that area. And Republicans, including Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, said they still think Romney can close the gap even further in the campaign's remaining months.
"I just wish everybody could get to know him like I do," Ryan said Friday on conservative commentator Laura Ingraham's radio show. "He’s one of the most kind, compassionate, thoughtful, well-tempered, well-mannered people I've ever known."
The poll showed Obama with double-digit leads over Romney in several other character-related areas -- caring about people's needs, being honest and trustworthy, and standing up to special interests. On the question of who is a stronger and more decisive leader, Obama holds a 47 percent to 42 percent advantage.
The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 20-22 with a random sample of 1,033 adults in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The maximum margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.