Republican Mitt Romney inspires more confidence than President Barack Obama on the question of improving the economy.
Yet voters “disproportionately” blame former President George W. Bush for the state of the economy more than they blame Obama.
These cross-currents might help explain why the presidential contest remains virtually tied in the daily national tracking that ABC News and the Washington Post are conducting: 49 percent favor Obama, 48 percent Romney.
Fifty-four percent of those surveyed express some confidence that the economy would improve under Romney, while 47 percent voice that confidence in Obama’s re-election. Yet few are “very” confident with either candidate: 19 percent for Romney, 21 percent for Obama.
“Just 36 percent of likely voters say Obama is chiefly responsible for the country’s current economic problems,” pollster Gary Langer reports for the ABC and the Post. Fifty-one percent blame his Republican predecessor, three years and nine months after Bush left office.
The one-point difference in the overall track of likely voters is “insignificant, given sampling error,” Langer notes. In fact, though he hesitates to “imply false precision – taking it to two decimals, Obama has 48.56 percent support, Romney 48.49 percent.”
And that is exactly what it was on Oct. 23, with the edge for Romney, after the last presidential debate.