Marist poll shows virtual tie between Obama, Romney

posted at 12:10 pm on March 27, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama still has a big problem in the upcoming general election, as Marist notes in its new McClatchy poll today.  The incumbent can’t get outside of the margin of error against Mitt Romney, leading 46/44, while Rick Santorum is only five points behind Obama:

Months into a bruising primary campaign, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is still neck and neck with President Barack Obama in a hypothetical general election matchup, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Obama leads Romney 46-44 percent, suggesting a country that remains closely divided between the major parties, unwilling to rally to the Democratic incumbent and refusing to cast aside the front-runner for the Republican nomination after a dark hour of attacks and sniping inside his party.

Rick Santorum, the other major GOP candidate, remains close to Obama as well. The poll finds the president leading him 48-43 percent in a possible fall matchup.

A key reason they’re both close: Each edges the president among independent voters by 1 point. Another: The president, while enjoying an uptick of support on his handling of the economy and foreign affairs, nevertheless has the overall job approval of fewer than half of American voters at 48 percent, with 47 percent disapproving and 5 percent unsure. He fares a tad better when voters were asked whether they have favorable or unfavorable impressions of him: Fifty percent are favorable, 46 percent unfavorable and 3 percent unsure.

Once again, a couple of caveats are in order.  Head-to-head matchups between incumbents and multiple opponents competing in a primary are somewhat misleading.  The split in the other party may artificially depress support for the alternatives.  The key figure in these polls is the level of support the incumbent receives, and in this case, the incumbent can’t get to 50%.  That’s a sign that the incumbent will have a difficult time winning re-election no matter who his opponent may be.

The sample in this case isn’t a problem, although the sample type is not the most predictive.   The poll surveyed 1,080 general-population adults and derived 846 registered voters rather than likely voters, which is a more predictive sample type.  Nine percent of this group identified as first-time voters, which means that the likelihood of these voters casting ballots in the fall would be lower.  However, the partisan split in the latter population looks quite realistic, with a D/R/I of 33/31/35.

Some of the crosstab info supports my warning on head-to-head matchups at this point.  Nineteen percent of self-described “very conservative” voters claim they would vote for Obama rather than Romney, as did 17% of “conservative” voters.  Almost the same numbers apply in the Santorum matchup (19% and 18%, respectively).  There seems little doubt that only a few “very conservative” voters will ever cast a ballot for Obama, and the same is true for “conservative” voters.  This seems very much like residual resentment towards competing Republicans than a measure of support for Obama.

The big takeaway in this poll is probably the behavior of independents, who favor Republican candidates by a single point — a virtual tie.  Obama won independents by eight points in the overall 2008 exit polls on his way to a seven-point margin of victory in the popular vote, with 52% of independents voting for the Democrat.  If Obama can’t get above 44% against either Romney or Santorum in this apples-to-oranges comparison, he’s in real trouble.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


*He lost to ted kennedy in 1994, a HUGE year for republicans 58% to 41%

Danielvito on March 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

You seem to forget that he did better in that election against Chappaquidick Fats than any other Republican candidate for Senator had ever done before.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Your president and your dollars

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Danielvito on March 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

You might be right. However, Romney will still do far better against Obama than any of those currently running on the GOP side. Everyone else that’s either run or that I’ve heard proposed as a possible doesn’t have a prayer. It’s either Romney this year or hope and pray that someone better comes along who’ll be able to save whatever is left in 2016.

JohnAGJ on March 27, 2012 at 2:27 PM

“A project this ambitious comes with another feature you don’t always find with the typical fixer-upper: its own lobbyist, hired by Romney to push the plan through the approval process.”

Danielvito on March 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Liberals always show you who they Fear.

As for a house with a car lift in it, who the getalife cares? That’s not an unusual feature for luxury homes in California. In fact there’s one for sale in Laguna Beach right now.

Maybe O’bama will buy that one after he loses in November.

As al-AP tells us:

Though unusual, Romney’s proposed car elevator is not unique. A company called American Custom Lifts provides home car elevator construction services, though they do not publicly list their prices. And while the Romney’s proposed car elevator will undoubtedly be cutting edge, the concept itself is not groundbreaking. A large-scale car elevator was being used in Chicago as far back as 1936, according to the website Chicagoist.

There’s also a much fancier home with a car lift being proposed in the Blue City of New York City; you’ll find it on 11th Avenue in the Far Left Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Of course, you Brain-Dead Democrats had absolutely no problem nominating a Rich Idiot to run for President in 2004; that gigolo and his meal ticket owned something like 7 different luxury estates (including one in Switzerland).

And yet Romney-and his condo in MA and his 2 vacation homes in CA and NH-is so much worse in your bizarre world than that 2004 Pretender ever was.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Obama will be defeated in November. A majority of Americans do not want an American version of Hitler or Stalin or Joe Izzusu or a Lyncher in Chief or Bozo the Clown.

VorDaj on March 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

By the way, an elevator for a car at a vacation home, really!

Danielvito on March 27, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Tell us again about the fancy house the Idiot who ran for Vice President on the Democrat Ticket in 2004 built.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 2:31 PM

What makes you think I’m not a citizen?

liberal4life on March 27, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Er, maybe because yesterday you referred to South America as “over there”?

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM

A friendly reminder of the mentality, knowledge, and political sense of Obama voters in 2008.

This is worth watching again. Pass it on…

The media drives the election…but word of mouth has proven time and time again to be a powerful component.

Green eyed Lady on March 27, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Shut up and unite behind Romney or you want four more years of Obama.


JannyMae on March 27, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Study history Mitt would assure us of four more years of Obama.

Regan said a Republican must be conservative on all three legs or he will lose. History proves this to be true 100% of the time giving moderate Mitt 0% chance of beating Obama.

Do not try to lie that GW was moderate. He was conservative and won his first time he then flirted with being moderate and supported Immigration Reform. He got slapped down big time and completely retreated to the conservative he was when he won his first term promising big tax cuts for all. Though he with nothing to lose he was a huge moderate his last term doing great damage to the GOP so much it paved the way to an easy Obama victory.

Moderate McCain paved Obamas path to victory.

Now the Stupid Party is going to allow.

Moderate Mitt to guide Obama to victory a second time.

How am I wrong?

Steveangell on March 27, 2012 at 3:22 PM

And yet Romney-and his condo in MA and his 2 vacation homes in CA and NH-is so much worse in your bizarre world than that 2004 Pretender ever was.

Del Dolemonte on March 27, 2012 at 2:29 PM

McCain was moderate as is Mitt. Moderate Republicans lose 100% of the time never once winning in history.

But as to the car elevator they are fairly common in parking lots in big cities. Fairly inexpensive it is cheaper to make a 4 car garage with 2 elevators than a much larger 4 car garage with 2 large doors. this sounds much worse than it actually is. Many Garages are actually tall enough for the elevator though it is a difficult retrofit.

Steveangell on March 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Steve, how much is axlefraud paying you to concern troll every thread here? Just curious.

No really, your hatred of our GOP nominee is bordering on becoming a mental disorder.

President Romney. Deal with it.

1984 in real life on March 27, 2012 at 3:57 PM

The words moderate and rino are thrown around a lot on the blogs. Moderate is a difficult word, it really doesn’t mean anything unless it is modifying another noun. I have a recipe that says you put the saucepan over Moderate heat, and it is quite a bit of heat, to get it to the boiling point but not scorch.

So, I choose to call Mitt Romney American Traditional, Right of Center.

I think some people are feeling the effects of some of the campaigns out there that are trying to portray him as “Not one of us…” undefined what THAT means, or someone “we don’t know what he believes,” both Winning our Future ads. Oddly it is a woman’s voice that says she doesn’t know and it portrays women as stupid and unable to look things up on the internet for themselves.

And where Newt has accused him of being a liberal from MA, he is trying to make you think he is John Kerry, practically Mitt Romney’s nemesis in MA. Gasp. Oh, he must be like Dukakis then. Gag.

So, if you do research on your own, you can read Mitts book Turnaround or his book No apology, or read his web page, and you won’t think he is a moderate marshmallow, you will think he is moderately intelligent…maybe more so.

Fleuries on March 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Santorum 5 points back.

Hmm, that really caught my attention…interesting…

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 27, 2012 at 4:30 PM

McCain was moderate as is Mitt. Moderate Republicans lose 100% of the time never once winning in history.

What about Nixon winning 49 states in 1976?
Or George H.W. Bush’s blowout victory in 1988?

Elections aren’t won or lost by the base deciding whether they’re going to sit out the election, as much as activists on both sides of the aisle would like to believe. If we had nominated say Fred Thompson in 2008, Obama would have still won going away.

BradTank on March 27, 2012 at 4:45 PM

for obama to actually be slightly ahead in a poll is a sad tell about who far our country has gone into the gutter of socialism and freebees and cronyism and whats in it for me.

losarkos on March 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM

about how far, sorry folks.

losarkos on March 27, 2012 at 5:05 PM

if he is re-elected I do believe I will live in cuenca ecuador for awhile to check out a different place.
I won’t shut the door on the way out.

losarkos on March 27, 2012 at 5:07 PM

romney has done things in the past with success with business and related endeavours. i am comfortable with him even if he is not the perfect conservative. i am not comfortable with obama in any capacity and will not vote for his re-election.

trying to ram a huge government program like obamacare down our throats and playing cat and mouse with the ruskies under the table with missle defense and his easy willing ness to cut military and nuclear deterrent scare me and I will pass on him.

losarkos on March 27, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Even with the media furiously fellating him, Obama the train wreck shouldn’t be anywhere close in this race. That Mittens can only eke out a tie says what? Nothing good.

swinia sutki on March 28, 2012 at 6:10 AM

The only reason it’s been a “bruising” primary, is because RINO ROMNEY (aka Obama-Lite) decided to LIE, LIE, LIE about Gingrich all over Florida and Iowa before that (see “What Really Happened to the Gingrich Ethics Case” by Byron York,, 2/6/2012). Since then, Willard (from the RAT movie of the same name) has distorted the livin’ [email protected] out of Santorum’s record. Furthermore, the RepublicRAT establishment was COMPLICIT in those LIES and distortions. That’s a helluva way to get folks excited about your PLASTIC candidate, STUPID Party!?! I now have a most UNfavorable opinion of the RepublicRAT establishment’s “preferred” candidate, and frankly, I am so angry I would consider writing in Daffy Duck (because this year, in particular, a conservative Daffy Duck would crush the [email protected]@ss-In-Chief!). What goes around, comes around, Willard (from the RAT movie of the same name)!!! Nice goin’, STUPID Party!?!?!

Colatteral Damage on March 28, 2012 at 5:17 PM