WASHINGTON — A pair of fresh polls is showing familiar results: The presidential race is essentially a dead heat.
A New York Times/CBS poll released Thursday shows Mitt Romney’s support at 47 percent of registered voters, with President Barack Obama at 46 percent. A Fox News poll has Obama at 45 percent and Romney at 41 percent. Both results are within the polls’ margins of error and show little movement from surveys earlier in the summer.
One of the most consistent thing about the presidential showdown is its consistency. There hasn’t been a wide swing in favor of either candidate in spite of some pretty dramatic twists and turns in the news, including the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling, a string of bad jobs reports and, most recently, loaded charges coming from both campaigns. Still, the polls are picking up on plenty of anxiety about the economy.
In both surveys, more people disapprove of Obama’s job performance than approve, but by a slim margin. When asked specifically on Obama’s handling of most voters’ top issue — the economy — the president fared worse. The New York Times/CBS poll, conducted July 11-16, puts his approval on the economy at 39 percent, down from 44 percent in April, although the poll shows that number bouncing back and forth quite a bit.
Obama also appears to have taken a hit on foreign policy. Voters in the New York Times/CBS poll were evenly split on Obama’s approval on foreign affairs, showing a drop in approval in an area where the president has enjoyed pretty strong support. The poll found voters essentially split on the question of who would better handle national security and terrorism.
More worrisome for the Obama campaign has to be numbers on economic issues. Romney bested Obama when it came to reducing the deficits and, crucially, handling the economy and unemployment. Two-thirds of those surveys said the country is headed in the wrong direction and two-thirds said Obama’s policies had contributed in some way to countries economic downturn.