Obama Holds Slim Lead in National Poll

Obama Holds Slim Lead in National Poll

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - July 11, 2012

Barack Obama edges Mitt Romney by three points nationwide, according to a new poll that finds unmarried voters fueling the president's lead.

Obama attracts 46 percent of registered voters to Romney's 43 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows. Both win ample support from their respective bases, but Romney edges Obama 43 percent to 41 percent among independent voters. In a Quinnipiac poll released in April, Obama led by four points.

While there have been questions during the 2012 campaign about how Romney might fare among women in November, the pollsters find the marriage gap to be larger than the gender gap.

For example, the president leads, 51 percent to 39 percent, among women, while Romney leads, 47-40, among men. But Obama leads, 54 percent to 34 percent, among unmarried voters, while Romney leads, 51 percent to 38 percent, among married voters. The president leads by nine points among unmarried men and 29 points among unmarried women. Romney leads by 19 points among married men, and seven points among married women.

The gap may be reflective of the differing economic conditions married versus unmarried voters experience, the pollsters suggest.

"Married people are more likely to be older, more financially secure and more socially conservative than unmarried voters. The married column includes more Republicans and more white voters,” said Peter Brown, assistant director for the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement released with the results. "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.”

Still, voters overall disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy by a 55 percent to 40 percent margin. But they are split over which candidate would do a better job on the issue: 45 percent say Obama while 46 percent say Romney. Forty-seven percent of voters say Romney would better handle their personal economic futures while 44 percent say the president would do a better job. Half of the voters surveyed find Obama’s economic plans unfavorable, while 44 percent have a a favorable view. But the numbers are similar for Romney: 46 percent to 40 percent have an unfavorable view of his plans for the economy.

The demographic data presented in this poll reflects national trends. Obama holds a 29-point leads among Hispanic voters, and wins over black voters with 92 percent of the support. Romney leads among white voters by 13 points. College educated white voters are split, with 46 percent supporting Obama and 47 percent backing Romney, but whites without a college degree go for Romney over the president by a 20-point margin.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,722 registered voters from July 1-8. The sampling error is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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