At this stage in the campaign, Barack Obama is in a strong position compared with past victorious presidential candidates. With an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters, Obama holds a bigger September lead than the last three candidates who went on to win in November, including Obama four years ago. In elections since 1988, only Bill Clinton, in 1992 and 1996, entered the fall with a larger advantage.
Not only does Obama enjoy a substantial lead in the horserace, he tops Romney on a number of key dimensions. His support is stronger than his rival’s, and is positive rather than negative. Mitt Romney’s backers are more ardent than they were pre-convention, but are still not as enthusiastic as Obama’s. Roughly half of Romney’s supporters say they are voting against Obama rather than for the Republican nominee. With the exception of Bill Clinton in 1992, candidates lacking mostly positive backing have lost in November.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted September 12-16, 2012 among 3,019 adults including 2,424 registered voters, finds that Obama continues to be the more likable candidate by a substantial margin; his favorability rating has risen to 55% from 50% in late July, with 42% now expressing an unfavorable view of him.
Read the full report, Obama Ahead with Stronger Support, Better Image and Lead on Most Issues, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.