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Poll: Romney Rising on the Radar, Obama Drawing More Negative Talk Poll: Romney Rising on the Radar, Obama Drawing More Negative Talk

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Campaign 2012

Poll: Romney Rising on the Radar, Obama Drawing More Negative Talk

Conversations on politics suggest negative-ad blitzes by both sides may be grating on voters.


President Obama speaks at a campaign event at Loudoun County High School on Aug. 2 in Leesburg, Va.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

There’s relatively good news for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in National Journal’s latest Conversation Nation poll. He’s registering on the radar of more of those surveyed, and more of them are bad-mouthing President Obama. 

In what may be a sign that the scorched-earth tactics by both sides are grating on voters, talk about both Romney and Obama was more negative than positive over the last week. For Obama, the breakdown was 46 percent negative to 32 percent positive, a notable difference from his 40-40 split the week prior. Meanwhile, 41 percent of talk about Romney was negative, compared with 33 percent positive, an improvement from his 45-27 split the week prior.


And while conversations about Obama significantly outweighed discussions of Romney in late May, 35 percent to 19 percent, Romney has closed the gap in recent weeks. According to the poll, conducted by the survey research firm Keller Fay Group, 28 percent of adults surveyed said they had talked about Romney in recent days, to Obama’s 35 percent. In addition, 45 percent of conversations about Romney referenced television in some way, indicating the blitz of presidential-campaign ads and media attention both candidates are receiving may have something to do with the uptick.

Nearly four in 10 adults surveyed reported having a conversation about politics in person, on the phone, or online: 22 percent said they had talked about Obama and how he’s doing his job, while 16 percent said they had talked about the 2008 or 2012 election.

As usual, some of the hottest topics were nutrition, dieting, and healthy eating, followed by chatter about shopping. But in an indication as to what will be important when more Americans turn their attention to the elections this fall, almost a third said they had a conversation centered on concern about their financial situation. Another 28 percent discussed how to cut back on expenses, and 23 percent talked about looking for or losing a job.


About This Poll:

National Journal and Keller Fay Group, a survey research firm, have partnered to track Americans’ online and face-to-face conversations about the 2012 presidential race. Each week Keller Fay’s TalkTrack® research service interviews a nationally representative online sample of approximately 615 Americans aged 18-69, to determine which candidates and issues people are talking about and the nature of those conversations. Ed Keller and Brad Fay are coauthors of The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace (Free Press: 2012).

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