The numbers from a new poll on the 2012 race for the U.S. Presidency released Tues., May 22 are a bit surprising. While it's not surprising Barack Obama has the lead overall, it arguably is unexpected for him to be tied with Mitt Romney on the economy.
When it came to the economy, the Washington Post and ABC News poll asked respondents: "Regardless of who you support, which candidate do you trust to do a better job handling the economy - (Obama) or (Romney)?"
The result was a tie at 47 percent for both the President and Romney. The poll comes with a plus or minus sampling error of 3.5 percent, so on the question of which candidate the respondents support when it comes to the economy, with the sampling error taken into account, either candidate could be leading by that number.
Obama could have large lead
Given that sampling error size, the question of which candidate the voter supported overall could, on the one hand, be said to be a statistical tie as the polled numbers have Obama leading the presumptive GOP candidate by just 3 percentage points, 49 to 46. However, on the other hand it is possible that, if the error numbers were to go in the other direction, Obama would be leading by as much as 6.5 percentage points.
In what might also be considered a surprise, results from a question on how voters feel about the future of the economy in the U.S. saw 54 percent 'more hopeful' about their country's economic future, versus just 42 percent who are 'more anxious.' Another question found respondents 'more hopeful' than 'more anxious' about their personal finances, by a 58 to 38 percent count.
These numbers are on the upswing, reflecting what some pundits say is an improving economy under the Obama administration. Other factors supporting Obama's improving numbers may include a Democratic Party ad campaign directed at Romney and his time as chief executive of Bain Capital, a private-equity firm he was instrumental in founding. Examples of Romney and Bain raiding other companies and maximizing their profits at the expense of workers and communities are being highlighted in the campaigns.
The Washington Post and ABC News poll was conducted by telephone from May 17 to May 20 with a national sampling of 1,004 registered voters,