Republican Mitt Romney
Republican Mitt Romney enjoys a significant advantage over US President Barack Obama when it comes to who voters feel would better manage the economy and create jobs, a new poll found Tuesday.
The USA Today/Gallup survey found that prospective voters, by more than two to one (63-29 percent), say Romney's business background would cause him to make good and not bad decisions about the country's economic challenges.
With the health of world's largest economy a top issue in November, the poll raises questions about the Obama campaign's strategy of targeting Romney's record at the private equity firm he founded, and his refusal to release pre-2010 tax records.
Obama's re-election team has deluged the airwaves in battleground states with ads seeking to tarnish Romney in the eyes of voters. But the attacks on Romney's business record -- including charges his firm helped outsource jobs to countries like China -- do not appear to have substantially hurt the challenger.
Instead, Americans are focused on trends in the economy, whose recovery from recession has slowed in recent months with the unemployment rate stuck above 8.0 percent for the duration of Obama's presidency.
A separate tracking poll by Gallup shows the rivals neck and neck, with Obama edging Romney 46 percent to 45 percent. An average of polls collated by Washington website RealClearPolitics shows Obama ahead by the same margin.
And the USA Today poll does show some advantages for Obama. By two to one, respondents rate the president more likeable than Romney, and at least 10 percent more respondents say Obama understands the daily problems of Americans better than his rival.
Numerical data for those elements of the poll did not appear immediately available.
Romney held the advantage in a number of key areas.
Respondents expressed skepticism about the role of government espoused by Obama, with 61 percent saying the government is encroaching on things that should be left to individuals -- the highest number since Gallup began tracking the issue in 1992, USA Today said.
Republicans and right-leaning independents are more enthusiastic about the election. By a 51-33 margin, they say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, while Democrats and left-leaning independents are actually less enthusiastic than usual, 43-39 percent.