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Obama Has Slight Edge in ‘Favorability’

11.5.2012

High Point University National PollHIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 5, 2012 – When registered voters across the country were asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, the HPU Poll reports that none of the candidates earned overwhelmingly high marks in either category. However, President Barack Obama earns slightly higher marks in the favorable category than former Gov. Mitt Romney, while Vice President Joe Biden receives slightly higher marks in the unfavorable category than Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

Approximately 52 percent of those interviewed in the national survey said they had a favorable opinion of Obama, while 45 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him and 3 percent didn’t respond. For Romney, 48 percent of voters said they had a favorable opinion of him, 45 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him and 7 percent didn’t respond.

For the vice presidential candidates, the results are similarly close. Current Vice President Joe Biden received 45 percent in the favorable category and 47 percent in the unfavorable category in the national poll, while Ryan received 43 percent in the favorable category and 40 percent in the unfavorable category.

“Since job approval numbers are not available for all candidates, examining favorability ratings allows us to compare voters’ general impressions of the candidates,” says Dr. Sadie Leder, associate director of the HPU Poll. “If we did not already have enough evidence of a close race, this shows that overall voter evaluations of these candidates is split both here in North Carolina and on the national level.”

In addition to the national sample, a North Carolina sample was taken by the HPU Poll. Similar results were found for presidential and vice presidential candidates in the Tarheel state. North Carolina voters were also asked about candidates for governor, for which Republican candidate Pat McCrory received far more favorable results than Democratic candidate Walter Dalton.

Favorable/Unfavorable – Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates

We’d like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people — or if you have never heard of them.

In the United States (50 states):

Barack Obama

Favorable – 52 percent

Unfavorable – 45 percent

Don’t know/refused – 3 percent

Mitt Romney

Favorable – 48 percent

Unfavorable – 45 percent

Don’t know/refused – 7 percent

Paul Ryan

Favorable – 43 percent

Unfavorable – 40 percent

Don’t know/refused – 18 percent

Joe Biden

Favorable – 45 percent

Unfavorable – 47 percent

Don’t know/refused – 9 percent

In the North Carolina oversample: 

Barack Obama

Favorable – 52 percent

Unfavorable – 44 percent

Don’t know/refused – 4 percent

Mitt Romney

Favorable – 48 percent

Unfavorable – 45 percent

Don’t know/refused – 7 percent

Paul Ryan

Favorable – 46 percent

Unfavorable – 38 percent

Don’t know/refused – 16 percent

Joe Biden

Favorable – 46 percent

Unfavorable – 46 percent

Don’t know/refused – 9 percent

Favorable/Unfavorable – Candidate for North Carolina Governor

We’d like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people — or if you have never heard of them.

In the North Carolina oversample: 

Pat McCrory

Favorable – 52 percent

Unfavorable – 25 percent

Don’t know/refused – 23 percent

Walter Dalton

Favorable – 30 percent

Unfavorable – 35 percent

Don’t know/refused – 35 percent

The survey was fielded by the Telephone Centre, Inc of Greensboro, N.C. from Oct. 22 to Oct. 30, 2012. The responses for the National Sample came from 805 registered voters with landline or cellular telephones. The North Carolina portion of the survey comprises an oversample of 403 registered voters. In total, the Telephone Centre conducted 1,208 interviews. All respondents are contacted through phone numbers attached to state Board of Elections registration data. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International and Aristotle International to acquire these registered voter samples. The national portion of the survey has a margin of sampling error of approximately 3.45 percentage points. The North Carolina portion of the survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 5 percentage points. The data are weighted when appropriate toward population estimates for age, gender and race. For the national sample, which was weighted toward population estimates for gender, the population estimates came from U.S. Census estimates of the registered voting population of the U.S. For North Carolina, the population estimates for race were taken from North Carolina Board of Elections data from the week of Oct. 27. The population estimates for age and gender were taken from the U.S. Census estimates of registered voters for North Carolina. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Dr. Sadie Leder, assistant professor of psychology, serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

Further results and methodological details from the survey and can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://src.highpoint.edu/

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