POLL: Obama Has 50/50 Chance Of Re-Election In 2012

Entering 2012, President Barack Obama's re-election prospects are essentially a 50-50 proposition, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. It found that most Americans say the president deserves to be voted out of office even though they have concerns about the Republican alternatives.

Obama's overall standing in the poll suggests he could be in jeopardy of losing re-election even as the survey showed that public's outlook on the economy appears to be improving. For the first time since spring, more people said the economy got better in the past month than said it got worse. The president's approval rating on unemployment shifted upward - from 40 percent in October to 45 percent in the latest poll - as the jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent last month, its lowest level since March 2009.

But Obama's approval rating on his handling of the economy overall remains stagnant: Thirty-nine percent approve and 60 percent disapprove.

Heading into his re-election campaign, the president faces a conflicted public. It does not support his steering of the economy, the most dominant issue for Americans, or his overhaul of health care, one of his signature accomplishments, but it also is grappling with whether to replace him with Republican contenders Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich.

The poll found Americans were evenly divided over whether they expect Obama to be re-elected next year.

For the first time, the poll found that a majority of adults, 52 percent, said Obama should be voted out of office while 43 percent said he deserves another term. The numbers mark a reversal since last May, when 53 percent said Obama should be re-elected while 43 percent said he didn't deserve four more years.

Obama's overall job approval stands at a new low, with 44 percent approving and 54 percent disapproving. The president's standing among independents is worse: Thirty-eight percent approve while 59 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, the president holds steady with an approval rating of 78 percent while only 12 percent of Republicans approve of the job he's doing.

"I think he's doing the best he can. The problem is the Congress won't help at all," said Rosario Navarro, a Democrat and a 44-year-old truck driver from Fresno, Calif., who voted for Obama in 2008 and intends to support him again.

Robin Dein, a 54-year-old homemaker from Villanova, Pa., who is an independent, said she supported Republican John McCain in 2008 and has not been impressed with Obama's economic policies. She intends to support Romney if he wins the GOP nomination.

Obama, she said, "spent the first part of his presidency blaming Bush for everything, not that he was innocent, and now his way of solving anything is by spending more money."

Despite the soft level of support, many are uncertain whether a Republican president would be a better choice. Asked whom they would support next November, 47 percent of adults favored Obama and 46 percent Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. Against Gingrich, the president holds a solid advantage, receiving 51 percent compared with 42 percent for the former House speaker.

The potential matchups paint a better picture for the president among independents. Obama receives 45 percent of nonaligned adults compared with 41 percent for Romney. Against Gingrich, Obama holds a wide lead among independents, with 54 percent supporting the president and 31 percent backing the former Georgia congressman.

Another piece of good news for Obama: People generally like him personally. Obama's personal favorability rating held steady at 53 percent, with 46 percent viewing him unfavorably. About three-quarters called him likable.

The economy remains a source of pessimism, though the poll suggests the first positive movement in public opinion on the economy in months. One in five said the economy improved in the last month, double the share saying so in October. Still most expect it to stay the same or get worse.

"I suppose you could make some sort of argument that it's getting better, but I'm not sure I even see that," said independent voter John Bailey, a 61-year-old education consultant from East Jordan, Mich. "I think it's bad and it's gotten worse under (Obama's) policies. At best, it's going to stay bad."

Despite the high rate of joblessness, the poll found some optimism on the economy. Although 80 percent described the economy as "poor," respondents describing it "very poor" fell from 43 percent in October to 34 percent in the latest poll, the lowest since May. Twenty percent said the economy got better in the past month while 37 percent said they expected the economy to improve next year.

Yet plenty of warning signs remain for Obama. Only 26 percent said the United States is headed in the right direction while 70 percent said the country was moving in the wrong direction.

The president won a substantial number of female voters in 2008 yet there does not appear to be a significant tilt toward Obama among women now. The poll found 44 percent of women say Obama deserves a second term, down from 51 percent in October, while 43 percent of men say the president should be re-elected.

About two-thirds of white voters without college degrees say Obama should be a one-term president, while 33 percent of those voters say he should get another four years. Among white voters with a college degree, 57 percent said Obama should be voted out of office.

The poll found unpopularity for last year's health care overhaul. About half of the respondents oppose the health care law and support for it dipped to 29 percent from 36 percent in June. Just 15 percent said the federal government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance.

Even among Democrats, the health care law has tepid support. Fifty percent of Democrats supported the health care law, compared with 59 percent of Democrats last June. Only about a quarter of independents back the law.

The president has taken a more populist tone in his handling of the economy, arguing that the wealthy should pay more in taxes to help pay for the extension of a payroll tax cut that would provide about $1,000 in tax cuts to a family earning about $50,000 a year. Among those with annual household incomes of $50,000 or less, Obama's approval rating on unemployment climbed to 53 percent from 43 percent in October.

The Associated Press-GfK Poll was conducted Dec. 8-12 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by ttroy on Dec 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM
    Obama had better know for Christians,When looking for guidance in life people have been known to ask, "What would Jesus do?" After all, Jesus was an anarchist and very principled so it makes sense to look to someone like him after which to model their life.Today, the closest thing to Jesus in American politics is Ron Paul. Paul is a rarity in politics because he has principles. You can boil down Paul's position on anything by asking, "is it constitutional?". He doesn't flip flop on issues because he sticks to his principles. Does he support the IRS and income tax? No, because it's unconstitutional. Does he support the Federal Reserve and the fiat dollar? No, because it's unconstitutional. And, the reason he believes in the constitution is because he believes it is the best document written to uphold freedom and liberty.
  • by newport Location: newport on Dec 23, 2011 at 08:23 AM
    if he is reelected we might as well plan for the beginning of the end our country cant take another year of this president much less 4 more----there will be a civil war here if he is re-elected
  • by businessman Location: Greenville on Dec 23, 2011 at 07:47 AM
    Hope and Change- Since Obama became POTUS I have been forced to lay off all employees, make drastic cuts anywhere I can such as rent,sub contractor labor, cable, insurance, and charitable giving just to name a few. My actions have a toll on a lot of people, my landlord, former employees, insurance agent, cable company, and charities are all getting less. I own a business that was once profitable, where I made an honest living, I was not getting rich, but living the American Dream. Today, I am barely getting by. Obama has done nothing to help the economy. He just wants to take from working people and give to the lowlifes that feed from the "gubmint". Anyone that would vote this guy to another term has never had the guts to go out on their own to try and make a better life for your family. We can't take 4 more years of this socialist.
  • by troy on Dec 23, 2011 at 06:20 AM
    Please,to witn ty 7 Let me start by saying I started watching witn about 20 years ago.After switching from wnct ty 9. In 2008 I was very disappointed in what seemed to be media bias in the coverage of Dr.Ron Paul. Here we are again but this time, to say he is not as news worthy as the others in this race is unforgivable. I truly believe this comes from way over your head on the corporate ladder.Big wigs pulling their strings. Bias can not be denied.To do so only undermines 20 years of credibility once garnished to witn. I'm not mad or being ugly.I am sad,Integrity within news reporters have been diminished. Trust and respect are the most critical relationships between reporters and their audience. After 20 years it almost feels as if your news family becomes apart of my family.Even though Allot do come and go.It's hard to let family go.It is very disturbing to watch all the creditably these people have spent their entire careers trying to build diminish at no fault of their own.They are not choosing to not report Ron Paul's surge in Iowa.It's coming from the top.There is no mention of this huge ground breaking story on your website.It's sad, this movement is real.When it happens there will be no reporters left with any integrity to even document it!Our history will be lost. Nobody seems to get it in this context as I share with you. However real people see the media bias against Ron Paul.That"s all their talking about.The worst of is not even the bias. It is just it is so blatant,in your face.It is a insult. Feels like a insult. Like we are to stupid to see. It is sad in a great many ways! Thank you for your time, Sad in Winterville, Troy Hardee
    • reply
      by troy on Dec 23, 2011 at 08:10 AM in reply to troy
      Dr.Paul has been trying to change things for 24 years.He had no real power.He could not persuade them to change no matter how many speeches he gave.No matter how many warnings he gave.No matter how many things he voted against.We the people are going to give him the power he has needed and worked so hard to get.But you wanna know something crazy as hell???The first thing he is going to do with all that power is give right back to us!!!Some say he is a problem.Wanna Guess for who?Come on I know you know the answer! The Establishment!! WoW The Revolution,It's really coming OMG!.
  • by Petey Pirate on Dec 23, 2011 at 05:13 AM
    He will win it again. Sucks to say, but just nothing out there on the Republican side. Shame is, they really do the damage the second term.
  • by just throw in the towel Location: greenville on Dec 22, 2011 at 06:38 AM
    just throw in the towel b/c whoever we have run will have a suitcase full of bs. I think we just need to bring bill clinton back. nobody died when clinton lied.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Dec 22, 2011 at 03:24 PM in reply to just throw in the towel
      You mean when Newt balanced the budget?
      • reply
        by Delusional Snake Oil Company on Dec 23, 2011 at 03:35 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        Still waiting on that magical "generic republican", well Palin, Perry, Newt, Cain, Bachmann, Huckabee, Trump, Huntsman, have all fallen by the wayside. Maybe you can get Jeb Bush, I'm sure the Bush name will go far.
      • reply
        by JC on Dec 23, 2011 at 06:10 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        and Bush ruined that too...funny for all the posts you do on here, which is a huge amount, I would like you to remember that I will cancel out your rebublican vote...OBAMA 2012 the right is just plain wrong...
  • by john Location: farmville on Dec 21, 2011 at 07:08 PM
    well hey i got a 50/50 chance
  • by pete Location: grifton on Dec 21, 2011 at 06:38 PM
    I put little credence in stories from liberal news sources.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2011 at 05:26 PM
    Ah, it's the republican gift that keeps on giving. Sure it's a pile of sh**. But everything has a silver lining. Thanks for reelecting Obama!!
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Dec 20, 2011 at 02:59 PM
    This is the very reason we put no weight on Barlow or Lavon, they just post the lies time and again. The Pulitzer Prize-winning factcheck website of the St. Petersburg Times, PolitiFact.com, voted on the biggest lie of the 2011 and the winner is…”Republicans voted to end Medicare.” The false claims were spouted by Democrats and others on the left after House Budget Committee Charman Rep. Paul Ryan introduced a budget. The House proposal would purportedly significantly reduce debt by providing government subsidies for, and privatizing, Medicare for those under 55. After the Democrats voted against the budget, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a web ad that said seniors will have to pay $12,500 more for health care “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.” PolitiFact writes: “After two years of being pounded by Republicans with often false charges about the 2010 health care law, the Democrats were turning the tables. PolitiFact debunked the Medicare charge in nine separate fact-checks rated False or Pants on Fire, most often in attacks leveled against Republican House members. Now, PolitiFact has chosen the Democrats’ claim as the 2011 Lie of the Year.”
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 21, 2011 at 04:12 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      I think you are posting on the wrong subject again. Cocaine is a very addictive substance.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Dec 22, 2011 at 03:26 PM in reply to
        You are correct and if the walls start melting before you call 911......
    • reply
      by To Snake on Dec 21, 2011 at 11:00 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      PolitFact has been proven WRONG on this!! You better "keep up"!!
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Dec 22, 2011 at 03:28 PM in reply to To Snake
        You mean like Mediamatters or moveon.org. Yeah, the proved a lot of things just for you to post here. Now, isn't that special?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Dec 22, 2011 at 12:48 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      Maybe a case could be made that it was deceiving. I'm not really on that team, but I can see how it could be up for debate. I think it contains too much grey area to be placed into the same grouping as "Obama not born in America" and "Death Panels." However, one of the other "nominees" was "Stimulus Created Zero Jobs." Now, I've heard every Republican say that, even has they hypocritically hold job fairs with their Stimulus Money. There's no debate or dispute about how much of a lie that way.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Dec 22, 2011 at 04:28 PM in reply to
        Death Panels were part of Obamacare, get over it, its in there. So if you mother or father get sick, it will be up to the government to decide if they get expensive treatment.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Dec 23, 2011 at 03:30 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
          Snake Oil you better seek some Obamacare for your condition. They may one day find a cure for stupid.

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 135746628 - witn.com/a?a=135746628
Gray Television, Inc.