Obama, Romney locked in dead heat on economy

Updated: 2012-05-23 06:41


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WASHINGTON - Voters were evenly divided between US President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney on handling the economy, the top concern of voters, according to a new poll published on Tuesday.

A survey conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News Thursday through Sunday showed that the Democratic incumbent and his likely Republican challenger were tied at 47 percent on the economy.

Overall, 49 percent of the voters saying they would vote for Obama if the general election were held now, while 46 percent backed Romney.

A majority of respondents rated economy as the single most important issue in their choice for president. And 46 percent cared more about unemployment and the job market than other economic issues including deficit and taxes.

The survey found that 80 percent of Americans still hold a negative view of the economy, but 54 percent of Americans were more hopeful than anxious about the economy over the next few years, and 58 percent were optimistic about their finance prospects.

Voters were split on the issue of job creation, with Obama enjoying a 46 to 45 percent lead over Romney. He was also ahead of Romney on the question of who better understands Americans' economic problems.

Romney's business background as founder of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, has been a recurrent target of the Obama campaign. In his remarks Monday at a news conference of NATO summit, Obama argued that the private equity enterprises are set up "to maximize profits." "And that is not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers."

According to the poll, Romney's record at Bain is neither a positive nor a negative, with as many respondents saying it was a major reason to vote for him as against him. More than half said it was not a big factor.