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19 Nov, 2013 21:06

Poll: Romney would beat Obama if election happened today

Poll: Romney would beat Obama if election happened today

Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance at record highs, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney may have won the race to the White House if last year’s election was postponed until now, the results of a new poll suggest.

The poll — conducted during the last several days by ABC News/Washington Post and released on Tuesday — is the latest litmus test to suggest the Obama administration embarked on an indefinite nosedive in recent months with regards to popularity, with the main culprit — among others — likely the unsuccessful and highly detested roll-out of the president’s Affordable Care Act and its associated website.

According to the latest polling, 55 percent of Americans currently disapprove of the president’s job performance, indicating a drop of 14 percentage point surge since the start of this year that has in turn now earned Mr. Obama his worst rating yet while in office.

The percentage of Americans who now say they approve of the president’s job performance clocked in at 42 percent, according to pollsters, down from 55 percent at the start of 2013 and 68 percent at the dawn of his first administration.

Results gathered by interviewing 1,006 adults determined that Obama has also reached a career low in terms of being a strong leader and that fewer than half of Americans consider the president to have performed well overall. Additionally, 70 percent say the country has “gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track” as of late, compared to practically a quarter of Americans who believe otherwise.

Perhaps the most damning analysis of the information yet, however, indicates that the commander-in-chief could have lost his chance at re-election if any of the incidents that have marred the last year occurred ahead of the 2012 presidential election. Pollsters asked survey-takers to decide between Obama and his 2012 GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, “if the 2012 presidential election were being held today instead of just over a year ago.” According to those questioned, the Republican topped Obama by a margin of 49-to-45 percent, giving Romney roughly the same four-point lead in terms of the popular vote that allowed Obama to win a second term last year.

“This poll, obviously, is hypothetical. People know there isn’t another election between Romney and Obama and may be more willing to change their opinion from the 2012 vote,” Aaron Blake wrote for the Washington Post on Tuesday. “That said, an eight-point shift in the popular vote, spread across the entire country, would have netted Romney an additional 10 states and 125 electoral votes in 2012. That would mean he would have won the race 331-207 — virtually the same margin as Obama’s 332-206 win.”

According to the pollsters who combed over the results, the president’s hallmark health insurance plan — so-called “Obamacare” — could easily be considered the driving force responsible for the sharp decline of support in recent months. Those who participated in the poll indicated that Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the act’s implementation to the tune of 2-to-1, and that a majority of the public — 57 percent — now opposes the law overall, which has earned the ACA it’s most negative rating to date.

“Skepticism about the Affordable Care Act looks to be the driving force in Obama’s troubles,” the pollsters noted.

Of course, that isn’t to say that the president had a particularly good year otherwise, either. The death of four Americans at a US facility in Benghazi, Libya last September continues to attract criticism directed at his administration more than a year later, and high-profile scandals involving the National Security Agency and Internal Revenue Service have led to an array of congressional hearings and investigations.