While Mitt Romney has a big lead over President Barack Obama among white voters with financial struggles, the president fares better on economic issues among voters overall, according to a new national poll released Friday.
The Washington Post/ABC News survey indicates that middle class white voters who say they face economic hardship prefer Romney over Obama by a wide margin, 58% to 32%.
When taking into account, however, a larger sample of all registered voters, Obama's standing dramatically improves. Forty-six percent said they think the president would do more to advance the economic interests of voters and their families, while 44% said the same about Romney. The margin falls well within the sampling error.
Breaking the poll down further, voters appear to perceive Romney as more favorable to the rich than Obama. Asked which candidate would do more to advance the economic interests of the wealthy, a whopping 68% chose Romney versus 21% for Obama.
More voters, however, expect Romney would do a better job for small businesses than the president, 48%-44%. The issue of handling the economy was at the forefront of political dialogue this week, as Obama's campaign hammered Romney over his time as a private equity CEO, saying his corporate resume did not qualify Romney for the White House.
"When you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot," the president said Monday during a press conference at the NATO summit in Chicago. While some on the left and the right criticized Obama's team for going after Romney's business experience, the president argued that attacks were fair game since Romney uses his private sector experience as a main selling point on the campaign trail.
Hitting back, Romney's campaign has accused the president of attacking "the free enterprise system" and using the argument as a distraction from what they call his "failed economic policies."
"President Obama refuses to accept moral responsibility for his failed policies. My campaign is offering a positive agenda to help America get back to work," Romney said in a statement earlier this week.
For the poll, Washington Post-ABC News surveyed 1,004 adults nationwide by telephone between May 17 and 20, with sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.