President Obama Leads Mitt Romney by 9 points and Rick Santorum by 12 points

NEW YORK , N.Y. – February 17, 2012 – With about ten days to go before the next primaries in the Republican race for the nomination, all four remaining Republicans are losing to President Obama by between 8 and 17 points. As the race narrows down to the final candidate, just half of Americans (51%) say they are satisfied with the choices available to them for President while more than two in five (44%) are not satisfied. Independents are the most dissatisfied with over half (55%) saying they are not satisfied with the choices while two-thirds of Democrats (68%) are satisfied. Republicans are more split as half are satisfied (52%) and 44% are not satisfied. But the Republican satisfaction is soft with just 13% very satisfied and 39% saying they are only somewhat satisfied.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Head to head match-ups

If the presidential election were held today, 46% of Americans would vote for President Obama, 37% would vote for Mitt Romney and 17% are not at all sure. Last month, two in five U.S. adults (43%) said they would vote for President Obama while 39% said they would vote for Mitt Romney. Among Independents, it’s a slightly closer race with 43% voting for the President and 37% voting for the former governor and 46% of adults in the 2012 Swing States (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia) would vote for President Obama and 39% would vote for Mitt Romney.

Ron Paul may not be in the fight for front-runner, but he actually makes it a slightly tighter race as 45% of Americans would vote for President Obama and 37% would vote for the Congressman while 18% are not at all sure. Among Independents, Paul is ahead 42% to the President’s 40% but in the 2012 Swing States the President is ahead 45% to 41% for Paul.

He may be jockeying for front-runner status but the former Senator from Pennsylvania is more than ten points behind the President. Almost half of Americans would vote for President Obama (47%) while 35% would vote for Rick Santorum and 18% are not at all sure. Among Independents, 44% would vote for President Obama and 35% for Santorum with 20% not at all sure. In the 2012 Swing states, 46% would vote for the President while 40% would vote for Santorum.

Finally, if the election was held today, half of Americans (50%) would vote for President Obama and one-third for Newt Gingrich (33%) with 18% not at all sure. Among Independents, President Obama leads Newt Gingrich 47% to 32% with 20% not at all sure and among people in the 2012 Swing states President Obama leads Newt Gingrich 48% to 36% with 16% not at all sure.

So What?

The Republican primary continues to be a road full of twists and turns and the main benefactor to these constant changing stories is President Obama. In each of these four races the President has expanded his lead. The question is what happens when the primary race is over and the Republicans have decided on a candidate. If that happens quickly, he will have time to make the race close, but the longer the primary goes, the shorter the general election timeframe becomes.

 

 

 

TABLE 1

ROMNEY VS. OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

41

41

43

43

46

Mitt Romney

40

41

40

39

37

Not at all sure

18

18

17

19

17

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

 

TABLE 2

ROMNEY VS. OBAMA – By Party and Political Philosophy

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total

2012 Swing state

Party ID

Political Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

46

46

9

84

43

19

51

78

Mitt Romney

37

39

77

7

37

64

30

10

Not at all sure

17

15

14

9

20

16

19

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

TABLE 3

GINGRICH VS OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Dec

Total

Jan

Total

Feb

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Political Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

45

45

50

48

12

87

47

19

56

83

Newt Gingrich

38

36

33

36

72

6

32

63

24

6

Not at all sure

17

19

18

16

16

7

20

18

20

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

 

TABLE 4

PAUL VS. OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total Oct

Total Nov

Total

Jan

Total

Feb

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Political Philosophy

Rep

Dem

Ind

Cons

Mod

Lib

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

41

40

42

45

45

10

84

40

20

50

74

Ron Paul

36

38

38

37

41

71

8

42

61

31

14

Not at all sure

23

21

20

18

15

19

9

18

19

19

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

TABLE 5

SANTORUM VS. OBAMA

If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Jan

Total

Feb

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Barack Obama

45

47

46

10

85

44

18

54

78

Rick Santorum

36

35

40

74

6

35

67

25

7

Not at all sure

19

18

14

16

8

20

15

21

14

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

TABLE 6

SATISFACTION WITH CANDIDATE CHOICES

How satisfied are you with the choices available to you for President?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Tea

Party Supporter

2012

Swing

States

Party ID

Philosophy

Rep

Dem

Ind

Cons

Mod

Lib

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

SATISFIED (NET)

51

51

55

52

68

42

50

49

61

Very Satisfied

19

12

25

13

35

12

16

17

31

Somewhat satisfied

32

39

30

39

33

30

34

32

30

NOT SATISFIED (NET)

44

48

41

44

29

55

47

46

34

Not very satisfied

28

34

27

32

18

34

32

28

20

Not at all satisfied

16

14

14

12

11

21

15

18

14

Not at all sure

5

1

4

4

3

3

4

6

5

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

 

 

 

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 25 and 27, 2012 among 2,099 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J41216

Q1245, 1246, 1247, 1249, 1250

 

 

The Harris Poll ® #18, February 17, 2012

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

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