Polls which ask voters for their thoughts on how the last election should have shaped up a year or two years after the fact are pretty much meaningless. The latest CNN/ORC survey which asks voters that question is no exception to that rule. Nevertheless, with just 100 days remaining before the midterm elections, this question is an instructive measurement of voter satisfaction with the president.
If voters had it to do all over again, 53 percent would support Mitt Romney over the 44 percent who would continue to back Barack Obama. The president’s remaining coalition is what you would expect it to be; voters aged 18 – 34, Northeasterners, Democrats, self-identified liberals and moderates, urban and minority voters.
Where the president suffers the most in this survey is among women. CNN/ORC found that women voters backed Romney over Obama by 52 to 45 percent. That is almost identical to the margins among male voters (54/43 percent) and dramatic reversal from 2012 when the nationwide exit polls showed women backed Obama by double digits (55/44 percent).
There is not much in the way of good news for Obama in this poll. A majority say Obama is not a “strong and decisive leader.” By 56 to 43 percent, voters say Obama does not agree with them on the issues they “care about.” Only 42 percent say Obama can manage the government effectively; 57 percent believe he cannot.
But this survey is not all roses for Republicans either. In 2012, Obama trounced Romney by 63 points when voters were asked which candidate “cares about people like me.” While Romney has closed that gap in the intervening years since the last presidential election, he has not overcome the deficit entirely. By 51 to 48 percent (though within this poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error), voters still believe Obama cares more about them than does Romney.
Moreover, even in spite of Romney’s rehabilitation, voters would still back Clinton at this stage of the 2016 cycle by 55 to 42 percent.
This post has been updated since its original publication.