A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that most Americans believe presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would be a better president for financial institutions and the wealthy while a slight majority pegs President Barack Obama as the better candidate for the middle class.
The poll examines how Americans feel about the economy — unquestionably the bellwether issue in the 2012 presidential campaign — as well as their perceptions of the two candidates. Among those surveyed, 65 percent believe Romney would do more to advance the interests of wealthy Americans, while only 24 percent believe Obama would do more on that front.
The venture capitalist turned Massachusetts governor is viewed as the candidate who would do more to advance the interests of financial institutions by a similarly large margin, 56 percent to 32 percent. When asked who would do more to advance the interests of middle class Americans, 51 percent give the edge to Obama while 42 percent say Romney would do more.
Despite this ostensibly favorable outcome in the poll, the president is still locked in an extremely competitive campaign with Romney — a reflection of the economic pessimism that still pervades the country.
From ABC News:
Other elements also will inform the economic debate in the months ahead. More people think new regulations on financial institutions are too weak rather than too strong, by a 15-point margin, 38 to 23 percent. More also feel that unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy is a bigger problem than overregulation that stifles free enterprise.
Both those may help Obama, but broader economic discontent works against him. And the public divides on whether or not they feel they have a fair chance to get ahead, a weak report on the American dream that reflects the still-sour public mood after four-plus years of downturn.