A big lead among women voters is fueling a slight advantage for President Obama in the early phase of his contest with likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to a poll published Thursday morning by Quinnipiac University.
In line with other national polls published this week, the new Quinnipiac poll showed Obama with a narrow lead over Romney, in this case, 46 percent to 42 percent. Among women, Obama’s enjoys a yawning lead of 49 to 39 percent, while among men, the gap is only 46 to 43 percent in favor of Obama.
The race gap is even wider. The president is ahead among black voters 94-3 percent and among Hispanics 64-24 percent, while Romney leads 52-36 percent among whites, according to the poll.
Obama “has a big lead among women and is seen as the candidate most in tune with their needs. He is seen as more in touch with average Americans,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Republican Romney seems to hold an edge on the economy – the top issue of the campaign – and holds his own against the incumbent on being a strong leader. His opening is that, by 56-38 percent, voters disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy.”
Romney is viewed as better able to improve the economy, 47 to 43 percent, and better on creating jobs, 45 to 42 percent, and lowering gas prices 44 to 31 percent. He also had the advantage over the president on immigration, 43 to 39 percent. Obama is viewed as better able to handle women’s issues, 52 to 32 percent, and on foreign policy, 46 to 40 percent. The two men were viewed as equally capable on taxes and health care.
The vast majority of registered voters, some 81 percent, think the president is likable, while 63 percent say that about Romney. He also edges out Romney as more attune to their needs and problems, 57 to 44 percent. But the two are evenly matched when judged on “strong leadership qualities,” 61 percent for Romney and 60 percent for the president.
Obama got a split verdict on overall job approval, 47 to 48 percent, in the poll, and 49 percent of respondents said he is undeserving of a second term.
Asked about potential Romney running mates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by far was the best known of the potential picks, and 31 percent said he would be a good choice, although nearly half of potential voters, 49 percent, said they had no opinion yet. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was called a good choice by 24 percent of respondents, about the same percentage who called Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin a good pick.
In other polls published this week, a Pew Research Center survey showed Obama with a 49 percent to 45 percent lead over Romney, and Obama and Romney were tied in a statistical dead heat in Gallup's inaugural daily tracking poll published on Monday. The Gallup poll, which began on April 11 and will be reported daily on Gallup.com on the basis of continuous five-day rolling averages, showed Romney with 47 percent and Obama with 45 percent.
Quinnipiac surveyed 2,577 registered voters from April 11 to 17, and its poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.