Published August 22, 2012
Two new polls suggest Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate may not have moved the meter much in the persistently close contest between him and President Obama.
Surveys by AP-GfK and The Wall Street Journal/NBC News out Wednesday show Obama slightly ahead, with the dynamic looking much as it did several weeks ago.
The AP-GfK poll showed 47 percent of registered voters in support of Obama, with 46 percent backing Romney. That's not much changed from a June AP-GfK survey, when the split was 47 percent for the president to 44 percent for Romney.
After just over a week on the campaign trail, Ryan has a 38 percent favorable rating among adults, while 34 percent see him unfavorably. Among registered voters, his numbers are slightly better -- 40 percent favorable to 34 percent unfavorable. Ryan remains unknown to about a quarter of voters.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed a similar dynamic. The survey out Wednesday showed Obama leading Romney 48-44 percent, about where the race was a month ago. The margin of error was 3 percentage points, in the poll of 1,000 registered voters taken Aug. 16-20.
Voters were closely divided on the question of Ryan. Twenty-two percent said the Ryan choice made them more likely to back Romney, while 23 percent said the opposite. More than half said it would make no difference in their vote.
Romney put the 42-year-old conservative chairman of the House Budget Committee on the ticket Aug. 11. Like the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, the AP-GfK Poll was conducted Aug. 16-20.
Romney and Ryan will be crowned as the GOP presidential and vice presidential nominees next week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. The Democrats hold their convention the following week in Charlotte, N.C.
The closely locked contest reflects deep partisan divisions across the country.
Among true independents in the AP-GfK poll, those who say they do not lean toward either party, the share of undecided voters is declining, with each candidate picking up new support at about the same pace. However, Romney maintains a small advantage with the group, with the backing of 41 percent of independents to Obama's 30 percent. Some 21 percent still say they support neither candidate.
Among all voters, 23 percent are undecided or say they have not yet committed to their candidate.
Registered voters split about evenly between the two candidates on whom they'd trust more to handle the economy, with 48 percent favoring Romney and 44 percent Obama. They are also about evenly divided on who would do more to create jobs, 47 percent for Romney to 43 percent for Obama. Among independent voters, Romney has a big lead over the president on handling the economy -- 46 percent to 27 percent.
Obama holds a clear edge among voters on handling social issues such as abortion, 52 percent to 35 percent, and a narrow one on handling Medicare, 48 percent to 42 percent. Medicare has grabbed a lot of attention as an issue lately, with Ryan's proposals to partly change the program drawing criticism from Obama and other Democrats.
Of those who said Medicare is an extremely important issue, 49 percent say they plan to vote for Obama and 44 percent for Romney.
Michelle Obama remains more popular than her husband. Sixty-four percent of adults view her favorably and just 26 percent unfavorably, although that's down from 70 percent favorable in May. Ann Romney's favorable rating is mostly unchanged since May, with 40 percent viewing her favorably, 27 percent unfavorably and nearly a third declining to say.
The poll involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,006 adults nationwide, including 885 registered voters. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9, while it's 4.1 points for registered voters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.