President Barack Obama has a slight lead over presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney among voters nationwide with the help of an almost 2-1 advantage among single women, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
However, Romney leads by a wide margin among those who are married -- 51 to 38 percent --- who tend to be more stable, financially secure and concerned about such issues as the economy and healthcare, both issues that are likely to define the 2012 race, the poll found.
The survey shows Obama with 46 percent support, Romney with 43 percent. Single women favor Obama over Romney, 60 percent to 31 percent.
The president is benefiting from this “marriage gap” that may be related to social issues, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Unmarried people overall favor Obama 54 percent to 34 percent.
“Married voters are more likely to focus on the economy and health care, while single voters are more focused on issues such as gay rights and reproductive issues,” Brown said in an e-mailed statement accompanying the poll, conducted July 1-8.
Married people tend to be older, more financially secure and more conservative, Brown said. They also include a larger proportion of Republicans and white voters, he said.
Obama, a Democrat, voiced his support for gay marriage in May and favors abortion rights. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman and yesterday reiterated his opposition to abortion during a campaign stop in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Romney leads 54 percent to 35 percent among married men, and has a seven-point advantage among married women. Obama leads 47 percent to 38 percent among single men.
Overall, men back Romney 47 percent to 40 percent; women choose Obama by 51 percent to 39 percent.
Romney leads 51 percent to 38 percent among white voters, while Obama is ahead 59 percent to 30 percent among Hispanic voters, a group that could prove pivotal in battleground states including Florida, Colorado and Nevada.
With Romney in Houston today to address the annual convention of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the poll shows Obama with overwhelming support from black voters, 92 percent to 2 percent.
“It’s not a friendly venue for any Republican, but it could send a positive signal to the population at large,” Mark Jones, chairman of the political science department at Rice University in Houston, said of Romney’s appearance.
Headwinds facing Obama in his re-election quest include his handling of the economy, which the poll found voters disapprove of 55 percent to 40 percent. They also have negative views of his handling of immigration policy and health care. And voters by 49 percent to 45 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing overall.
Still, voters are split on whether Obama or Romney would do a better job dealing with the economy, immigration and health care. Also, by 56 percent to 41 percent voters say they believe Obama “cares about their needs,” and they give him a better likeability rating than Romney.
Congress fares poorly in the poll, with a disapproval rating of 68 percent to 24 percent for Republicans, who control the House, and 62 percent to 29 percent for Democrats, who hold the majority in the Senate.
The survey of 2,722 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.
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