Obama, Romney close in polls

U.S. voters are nearly evenly divided between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney with five months to go before the election, especially on handling the economy, polls show.

WASHINGTON — U.S. voters are nearly evenly divided between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney with five months to go before the election, especially on handling the economy, polls show.

With U.S. unemployment still hovering above 8 per cent, both candidates have stepped up their emphasis on jobs and the economy. Obama and Romney have offered a starkly differing vision of how the economy should work as they appeal to voters who say jobs are the foremost issue in the November election.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Obama and Romney locked in a dead heat over handling the economy. They are tied at 47 per cent.

Overall, 49 per cent said they back Obama for re-election and 46 per cent preferred Romney, a statistically insignificant difference.

Other recent national polls show a similarly close margin.

Earlier polls generally showed the former Massachusetts governor holding a slight lead over Obama on economic issues and Obama slightly ahead overall.

But the tightening follows an aggressive attack on Romney’s business credentials by the Obama campaign, including ads painting him as a job-destroying corporate raider at Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he co-founded.

The Obama campaign has focused on two companies that were closed down or failed after they were absorbed into the web of enterprises under Bain Capital. Romney maintains financial ties to the company but left it years ago to run the Salt Lake City Olympic games and then to serve as Massachusetts governor.

Romney called the attacks “character assassination.” But Obama defended the tactic on Monday as legitimate and suggested Romney’s background was a poor qualification for the White House since being president involves more than “maximizing profits.”

The survey found that 80 per cent of Americans still hold a negative view of the economy, but 54 per cent said they felt more positively about the economic situation in the coming years, and 58 per cent felt the financial prospects would improve.

The president says the drive for profit is “not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers.”

The Obama campaign’s line of attack illustrates the president’s complicated relationship with the business community. He has used populist language to attack Wall Street executives and bankers as “fat cats” and called for an end to tax subsidies for oil and gas companies, but he also expanded the government’s rescue of the auto industry and has promoted tax breaks for small businesses.

While some of his Wall Street support has waned, he still draws a significant amount of campaign contributions from major investors, retaining a good relationship with, among others, billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Romney’s campaign has welcomed the debate on jobs.

“President Obama confirmed today that he will continue his attacks on the free enterprise system,” Romney said Monday. “What this election is about is the 23 million Americans who are still struggling to find work and the millions who have lost their homes and have fallen into poverty. 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 swept the Arkansas and Kentucky Republican presidential primaries Tuesday, inching closer to clinching the nomination. Romney has 1,034 delegates, leaving him 110 shy of the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination at the Republican National Convention in late August in Tampa, Florida.

With no serious opposition left in the state-by-state Republican primary race, Romney has long been focusing on fundraising for the general election and his campaign against Obama.

An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, meanwhile, suggested that Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage two weeks ago was a political wash, with 17 per cent saying it makes them more likely to vote for him and 20 per cent saying it makes them more likely to vote for Romney, who opposes gay marriage. Sixty two per cent said it makes no difference in their vote.

Just Posted

Rebels drop home opener to Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings were simply better than the Red Deer Rebels… Continue reading

Diesel spilled in Penhold neighbourhood

Penhold Fire Department responded

House fire in Penhold

Damage estimated at $30,000

Red Deer Players host play reading for public

Audience feedback for playwright

Sylvan Lake cleanup cancelled

Weather prompts cancellation

RDC Kings topple Medicine Hat College Rattlers

Kings Matheus Alves scores twice in the win

Nurse leads Canada over South Korea 82-63 at FIBA Women’s World Cup

TENERIFE, Spain — Kia Nurse poured in 29 points to lift Canada… Continue reading

Aretha Franklin exhibit debuts with eye toward her legacy

DETROIT — The Detroit museum that hosted Aretha Franklin’s public visitations after… Continue reading

‘Anaana’s Tent’ passes Inuit songs, legends, language to a new generation

In Pangnirtung, Nunavut, on the eastern tip of Baffin Island, Rita Claire… Continue reading

Housing data decision opens door to real estate innovation, say realtors

TORONTO — Realtor Daniel Steinfeld has wanted to post home sales data… Continue reading

Ty Long kicks winning field goal, Lions come back to beat Ticats in OT

VANCOUVER — Ty Long was eager for a special moment, and he… Continue reading

Indigenous eateries take centre stage in Canada thanks to increasing awareness

VANCOUVER — Since Paul Natrall started serving Indigenous cuisine from his Mr.… Continue reading

Canada’s capital region reeling after intense tornado rips through communities

OTTAWA — Parts of Canada’s national capital were still reeling Saturday after… Continue reading

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns… Continue reading

Most Read