PRINCETON, NJ — Americans tend to see Mitt Romney as better able to handle key issues than President Obama is, particularly those relating to the economy. However, Americans give Obama the edge on most character dimensions, especially basic likability.
Romney has an edge on four of six issues tested in the July 19-22 USA Today/Gallup poll — all having a significant economic component, including the federal budget deficit, the economy, creating jobs, and taxes. Romney and Obama are tied on healthcare, while Obama’s lone lead in the poll is his decided advantage on foreign affairs.
On the other hand, Obama is viewed as more likable, more honest and trustworthy, and better able to understand the problems Americans face than Romney is. Romney’s only character advantage of the four included in the poll is for being able to “get things done.”
These differences help explain why Obama and Romney remain closely matched in voters’ general election preferences. In July 17-23 Gallup Daily tracking, 46% of registered voters say they would vote for Obama and 45% for Romney if the election were held today.