Oct 20, 2011 3:43 PM GMT
Half of all Americans believe President Obama should not be reelected, although the president leads all Republican challengers in head-to-head matchups, according to a new AP-GfK poll.
The poll found that 50 percent of those surveyed said Obama should not be given a second term, while 46 percent believed he should be, underscoring the president's slide since the bitter debt-ceiling debate this summer.
But in a matchup with Mitt Romney, the Republicans' current leading candidate, Obama led by a 48 percent to 45 percent margin. His leads were greater with Herman Cain (49 percent to 42 percent) and Rick Perry (51 percent to 42 percent), the other top-tier Republican candidates.
The Obama campaign has clearly taken note of both their sliding poll numbers and the former Massachusetts governor hovering within close striking distance, ramping up attacks on Romney over the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the Obama campaign team slammed Romney for saying that the government should allow foreclosures to happen to drive down home prices, and said that Romney's "core principle" was getting elected.
Romney's campaign returned in kind, saying the president was "more interested in saving his own job" than fixing the economy.
The poll found Romney leading the pack among Republican voters, garnering the support of 30 percent of those surveyed. Cain placed second with 26 percent, underscoring the resilience of his recent surge, while Perry earned 13 percent of voters. Texas Rep. Ron Paul led the remainder of the candidates whose support did not reach double digits.
Although the significant number of undecideds are warming to the Cain campaign, who hopes to appeal to voters who have resisted siding with Romney, the poll also finds that voters want a nominee who has held prior political office. Nearly four in 10 Republicans say they're less inclined to vote for an inexperienced politician, more so than those who are hesitant to vote for a Mormon, woman or black candidate.
Still, 19 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of all voters said they are disinclined to vote for someone who is Mormon. And, Cain continues to draw the support of devoted conservative voters who are more likely to participate at primaries. A third of self-identified Tea Party supporters say they would vote for Cain, compared to 29 percent for Romney and 13 percent for Perry.