Politics

U.S. Voters Split on Obama Re-Election in 2012

by Frank Newport

Little change seen since March on this measure

PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. registered voters remain split on whether President Obama deserves to be re-elected in 2012, with 46% saying he does and 51% saying he does not -- little changed from earlier this year.

Does President Obama Deserve to Be Re-Elected, or Not? Among Registered Voters

The most recent Obama re-elect measure is similar to the president's basic job approval rating among all Americans, which was 50% in the June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll and 48% in Gallup Daily tracking for the same period.

Obama received 53% of the popular vote in his 2008 victory over Republican John McCain. The current re-elect data suggest that -- depending on the Republican nominee -- the 2012 presidential election could be quite competitive were it held today.

However, history shows that much can change in the years prior to a presidential election. Gallup surveys in late April/early May 2002 found 69% of registered voters saying President George W. Bush deserved re-election. This was at a time when Bush's job approval rating was 77%, reflecting the rally effect that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. By October 2004, just before the election, Bush's approval had fallen into the 50% range and his "deserves re-election" percentage had dropped to 50%. Bush ended up receiving 51% of the popular vote to John Kerry's 48%.

Obama does not receive a universal endorsement for re-election among his fellow Democrats, 18% of whom say he does not deserve re-election; 79% say he does. That compares with the 9% of Republicans who say Obama deserves re-election. A 53% majority of independents say Obama does not deserve re-election.

Does President Obama Deserve to Be Re-Elected, or Not? Among Registered Voters, by Party ID

Bottom Line

The 2012 presidential election, in which President Obama will almost certainly seek re-election, is now less than two and a half years away. Currently, Americans' views on whether Obama deserves re-election show it would be a close race if the election were held today. Still, a great deal can change in what is a political lifetime between now and November 2012, meaning that while of current interest, estimates of Obama's re-election chances at this point have little predictive validity.

Survey Methods

Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-13, 2010, with a random sample of 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.

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