Barack Obama is a leading driver of voter preferences in possible 2012 matchups, among both his supporters and opponents. Given a choice between Obama and Mitt Romney, 48% of registered voters say they would vote for Romney or lean toward Romney, while an identical percentage support Obama or lean towards Obama. Most Obama supporters (33% of all voters) say they consider their choice as a vote for the president, while 11% say they see it as a vote against Romney. Conversely, far more Romney supporters (33%) say they view their choice as a vote against Obama rather than as a vote for Romney (15%). The pattern is similar in a possible Obama-Rick Perry matchup. These numbers come from a poll conducted Sept. 22-Oct. 4 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
It is not unusual in the early stages of a presidential reelection campaign for the focus to be on the incumbent. In February 2004, most George W. Bush supporters (39% of all voters) said they considered their choice as a vote for Bush, while John Kerry supporters (30% of all voters) said they viewed their choice as a vote against Bush. There was a similar pattern in early matchups for Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid and George H. W. Bush‘s 1992 re-election bid. Read More