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CBS NEWS POLL For Release: Monday, January 9, 2012 6:30 pm (ET) President Obama, the Economy and

the November Election January 4-8, 2012 If the election for president were held today, President Obama would be in a tight race against either Mitt Romney or Ron Paul. He leads against Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich. The Presidents job approval rating is at 45% in this poll, not much different than it was last month. Just 38% approve of his handling of the economy, also similar to last month. Four in five Americans continue to rate the economy poorly, and just a quarter think it is getting better. But looking ahead to the coming year, some Americans are optimistic. 40% expect 2012 to be better than 2011, while just 11% think it will be worse. 46% think it will be about the same.

Looking Ahead to the General Election In a series of possible general election match-ups based on the current field of Republican presidential candidates, if the election were held today Mitt Romney would have a slight edge over Barack Obama, while the President would lead Ron Paul poll by just a point. President Obama leads against Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman. Among all registered voters, Mitt Romney (47%) has a 2-point edge over President Obama (45%), while Ron Paul gets 45% against the President at 46%. President Obama (47%) leads Rick Santorum (43%) with a four point margin, and he holds larger single-digit leads against Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Perry. Who Would You Vote For in November if the Candidates Were? (Among registered voters) Total Republicans Democrats Independents Mitt Romney 47% 90% 10% 45% Barack Obama 45 5 87 39 Ron Paul Barack Obama Rick Santorum Barack Obama Newt Gingrich Barack Obama Rick Perry Barack Obama Jon Huntsman Barack Obama 45% 46 43% 47 41% 49 42% 49 41% 48 81% 9 83% 6 81% 9 85% 9 80% 8 10% 85 9% 87 8% 89 8% 89 8% 89 47% 40 41% 44 38% 45 39% 46 40% 42

If the general election were held today, it would break down along highly partisan lines no matter who gets the Republican nomination. A large percentage of Republicans rally behind any of the Republican nominees, though Romney does the best among registered Republicans with 90% of their vote. About nine in 10 Democrats pick Barack Obama over any of the Republican candidates. Independents show a preference for both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul over Barack Obama, though independents choose the President over the rest of the field. The Presidents Job Performance Americans overall are divided in their assessment of the job Barack Obama is doing as president: 45% approve while 47% disapprove. The Presidents approval rating has been below 50% for much of the last year and a half. President Obamas Overall Job Rating Now 12/2011 11/2011 45% 47% 43% 47 44 47

Approve Disapprove

9/2011 43% 50

Assessments of how the President is doing his job are highly partisan, with 84% of Democrats approving of the job he is doing and 86% of Republicans disapproving. Independents are more divided, though more independents disapprove (49%) than approve (38%) of how President Obama is handling his job. President Obamas Overall Job Rating Total Republicans Democrats 45% 9% 84% 47 86 12

Approve Disapprove

Independents 38% 49

While more approve than disapprove of the presidents handling of foreign policy, 55% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy. Obamas Job Rating Foreign Policy Economy Now 12/2011 Now 12/2011 46% 51% 38% 40% 37 32 55 53

Approve Disapprove The Economy

Despite some good news on the unemployment level last Friday, this poll shows little recent change so far in evaluations of the economy. 80% of Americans view the economy as fairly or very bad, while just 19% say it is at least fairly good. Nevertheless, the percentage that says the economy is good has almost doubled since last September. Condition of the Economy 12/2011 11/2011 19% 13% 81 86

Good Bad

Total 19% 80

10/2011 14% 86

9/2011 10% 88

Assessments of the economic outlook show little recent change either. Just 25% of Americans think the economy is getting better similar to last month. 29% think it is getting worse and

45% think it is staying about the same. Again, there has been improvement since last September; the percentage that says the economy is improving has doubled since then. Direction of the Economy 12/2011 11/2011 24% 18% 30 32 45 50

Getting better Getting worse The same

Now 25% 29 45

10/2011 14% 36 49

9/2011 12% 40 46

The economy and jobs remains the most important problem facing the country today according to most Americans, and most are at least somewhat concerned that they or someone else in their household might lose their job in the next twelve months. Congress Americans remain highly critical of Congress. Just 12% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while 80% disapprove. Disapproval cuts across party lines, with large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents all disapproving of the job Congress is doing. Job Rating of Congress Republicans Democrats 20% 10% 74 85

Approve Disapprove

Total 12% 80

Independents 8% 82

Direction of the Country There is some optimism in the poll. While two-thirds of Americans think the country is off on the wrong track, the percentage that says it is heading in the right direction has been growing over the past few months. Now 29% say the country is headed in the right direction, up four points from last month and up 10 points from September. Direction of the Country 12/2011 10/2011 25% 21% 69 74

Right direction Wrong track

Now 29% 65

9/2011 19% 73

6/2011 28% 63

Looking ahead to the coming year, some Americans are optimistic. 40% expect 2012 to be better than 2011, while just 11% think it will be worse. 46% think it will be about the same. Expectations for 2012 Better than 2011 40% Worse than 2011 11 The same 46
____________________________________________________________________________________ This poll was conducted by telephone from January 4-8, 2012 among 1,413 adults nationwide, including 1,247 interviews were conducted with registered voters. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters could be plus or minus three points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

CBS News Poll President Obama, the Economy, and the November Election January 4-8, 2012 q1 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President? ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS ** *** Party ID *** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 45 9 84 38 47 86 12 49 8 5 4 13

Approve Disapprove DK/NA

Dec11b % 47 44 9

q2 Do you feel things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track? Right direction Wrong track DK/NA 29 65 6 9 85 6 54 41 5 23 71 6 25 69 6

q3 What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? Economy & jobs Politicians/Government Budget Deficit/National Debt Partisan Politics Moral Values/Family Values Health Care President/Barack Obama Education Miscellaneous Social Issue Other DK/NA 55 5 4 2 2 2 2 2 2 21 3 55 4 7 1 3 2 5 0 1 19 3 64 5 2 3 0 3 0 1 3 16 3 47 5 5 2 3 3 2 3 1 27 2 53 4 5 3 3 2 2 1 1 22 4

q4 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling foreign policy? Approve Disapprove DK/NA 46 37 17 16 66 18 77 11 12 42 37 21 51 32 17

q5 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy? Approve Disapprove DK/NA 38 55 7 9 85 6 74 20 6 29 61 10 40 53 7

q6 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job? Approve Disapprove DK/NA q7 BLANK 12 80 8 20 74 6 10 85 5 8 82 10 11 83 6

q8 How would you rate the condition of the national economy these days? fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad? ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS ** *** Party ID *** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 1 0 2 0 18 9 28 16 46 45 44 47 34 43 24 35 2 3 2 1

Is it very good,

Very good Fairly good Fairly bad Very bad DK/NA

Dec11b % 1 18 41 40 0

q9 Do you think the economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same? Better Worse About the same DK/NA 25 29 45 1 14 31 54 1 44 20 35 1 17 34 47 2 24 30 45 1

q10 Overall, do you expect 2012 will be a better year for you and your family than 2011, do you expect it to be worse, or do you expect it to be about the same? Better Worse About the same DK/NA q11-48 SEPARATE RELEASE q49 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Newt Gingrich, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama or Newt Gingrich? *** REGISTERED VOTERS *** 49 9 89 45 41 81 8 38 1 1 0 1 4 3 1 6 1 1 0 2 4 5 2 8 40 11 46 3 29 13 55 3 54 9 36 1 36 13 49 2

Obama Gingrich Other (Vol.) Won't vote (Vol.) Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer

q50 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Jon Huntsman, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama or Jon Huntsman? Obama Huntsman Other (Vol.) Won't vote (Vol.) Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer 48 41 0 3 1 7 8 80 0 2 1 9 89 8 0 2 0 1 42 40 0 5 2 11

q51 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Ron Paul, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama or Ron Paul? ** REGISTERED VOTERS ** *** Party ID *** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % Obama 46 9 85 40 Paul 45 81 10 47 Other (Vol.) 0 0 0 0 Won't vote (Vol.) 3 5 1 2 Depends (Vol.) 1 0 0 2 Don't know/No answer 5 5 4 9 q52 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Rick Perry, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama or Rick Perry? Obama Perry Other (Vol.) Won't vote (Vol.) Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer 49 42 0 2 0 7 9 85 0 2 0 4 89 8 0 1 0 2 46 39 1 4 1 9

q53 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Mitt Romney, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Obama Romney Other (Vol.) Won't vote (Vol.) Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer 45 47 0 2 1 5 5 90 0 1 0 4 87 10 0 1 1 1 39 45 1 4 3 8

q54 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Rick Santorum, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama or Rick Santorum? Obama Santorum Other (Vol.) Won't vote (Vol.) Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer q56-58 BLANK q59 How concerned are you that in the next 12 months you or someone else in your household might be out of work and looking for a job -- very concerned, somewhat concerned, or not concerned at all? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** 34 28 36 37 28 32 26 27 38 41 38 36 0 0 0 0 Dec11b 32 27 40 1 47 43 1 2 1 6 6 83 1 2 0 8 87 9 0 1 0 3 44 41 1 3 2 9

Very concerned Somewhat concerned Not at all concerned DK/NA

Total Respondents Total Republicans Total Democrats Total Independents Total Registered Voters Republicans Democrats Independents

UNWEIGHTED 1,413 409 491 513 1,247 380 451 416

WEIGHTED

418 (30%) 468 (33%) 526 (37%) 1,133 350 (31%) 396 (35%) 387 (34%)