US voters bitter after negative campaign

2012-07-25 09:01

Washington - The recent run of negative ads in the US presidential race may be backfiring on both President Barack Obama and his Republican adversary Mitt Romney, according to a new poll on Tuesday.

Four in ten voters have a negative opinion of former Massachusetts governor Romney, according to the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey -- only slightly fewer than the 43% who view President Obama negatively.

According to Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democrat Peter Hart, it is unprecedented "in the modern era" to "have two candidates who are in deep, double-digit negatives".

With unemployment seemingly stuck above 8%, the poll also highlights American voters' concern over the future of their country: Sixty percent say the US is "on the wrong track", up from 58% in May. Just 32% say the country is going "in the right direction".

Voters seem to think Romney is better equipped to fix the country's economic woes: When asked, 46% of those polled chose him, compared to 36% for Obama on the issue.

However, the incumbent is doing better than his opponent on foreign policy, health, the situation in Afghanistan, taxes and immigration.

Head to head

Overall, the survey shows Obama beating Romney, 49% to 43%, if the 6 November vote were to be held today. That number holds up, even taking into account the margin of error of plus or minus three points.

Since May, when Romney was first assured his status as the Republican party nominee, both campaign teams have gone head to head in negative television ads.

One of the most recent ads, from the Democratic side, accused Romney of having links to companies that chose to lay off US-based workers and move those jobs to plants in Mexico and China instead.

In the ad, you can hear the Republican singing - very off-key - "America the beautiful".

Meanwhile Romney, a multimillionaire former businessman and investor, has lashed out against Obama on business, saying his economic philosophy is "foreign to the American experience".

Obama quickly fired back, accusing Romney of "knowingly twisting my words around" and editing them out of context.

The NBC/WSJ poll surveyed 1 000 registered voters from 18-22 July, and has an overall plus-minus 3.1 percentage points margin of error.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-25 10:55

    The US election process is largely a sham that quickly degenerates into negativity and mudslinging not because it is a true contest between two rivals both intent on winning at any cost and resorting to any means to do so, but because mudslinging is the only way to differentiate between—and create the illusion of conflict between—two nearly indistinguishable candidates or parties.

  • DSBennie - 2012-07-25 13:22

    Percentage points are not a good indication for the election because the winner is the candidate that has one the most electoral votes, not the number of votes that matter, it is a state by state race

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