Despite copious attacks on his business record, a national USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over the president when it comes to managing the economy:
By more than 2–1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.
The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.
To be sure, Obama retains significant advantages of his own. By 2–1, he’s rated as more likable than Romney. By double digits, those surveyed say the president better understands the problems Americans face in their daily lives. He has an 8-percentage-point advantage on being seen as honest and trustworthy.
However it seems that the president’s favorability ratings don’t translate into enthusiasm for him. Fifty-one percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents report they are more enthusiastic than usual for the presidential vote compared with 33 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. In contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents report they are less enthusiastic than usual, 43 percent to 39 percent.
The poll also finds a record number of Americans expressing doubts about the role of the government under the Obama administration. Sixty-one percent of voters, a record high since 1992, say the government is trying to be responsible for too many things that should be left up to individuals and businesses.