Poll Shows Obama Gaining Ground on Economy

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 15 2012 11:45 AM

Obama Pushes Economic Message as Poll Shows Romney No Longer Has Advantage on Issue

151960954
President Obama high-fives a boy after speaking at a campaign event Thursday in Golden, Colorado

Photo by Chris Schneider/Getty Images

Yet another poll brings good news for President Obama, bad news for Mitt Romney. The latest poll by the New York Times and CBS News puts the president three points ahead among likely voters, 49 percent to 46 percent. That number is within the margin of error but the importance here seems to be on the details. Voters give Obama an edge in essentially all issues except handling the budget deficit. And his approval rating of 51 percent marks the first time since right after the killing of Osama bin Laden that the number has crossed the 50-percent mark, notes the New York Times.

The poll also shows Obama with a one point advantage in the question of who would do a better job handling the economy and unemployment. Although clearly statistically insignificant, the fact that Obama is not lagging behind seems to be giving the president an opening to push his economic message in several key states. In a new TV ad set to run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, Obama blasts Romney for proposing a plan that favors multimillionaires and not the middle class, reports the Associated Press. (Watch the ad after the jump.)  

Advertisement

The ad is also significant because it amounts to the Democratic rebuttal to Republicans' insistence that the president's camp would rather avoid the “were you better off than you were four years ago?” question. That question is taken head-on in the ad.

The message that Romney caters to millionaires seems to be sticking with the public. While 60 percent of likely voters say Obama understands the problems of people like them, only 46 percent say the same thing about Romney. In a striking contrast, only 12 percent think Obama’s policies would favor the rich, compared to 53 percent for Romney. It also seems Obama was able to use the Democratic National Convention to shore up his image. More voters now view the president more favorably than unfavorably, a reversal from last month. Perhaps that’s why Obama’s campaign was eager to use snippets from convention speeches in the new ad.

Yet it isn’t all rosy for the president. A majority of likely voters disapprove of how he has handled the economy and a full 70 percent say the economy is fairly bad or very bad. Plus, independent voters, who favored Obama by 8 percentage points in 2008, now seem to be leaning toward Romney by six percentage points.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.