Obama Holds Slight Lead, According To Monmouth University Poll

STATE — Pres. Barack Obama has a four-point lead over presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, according to a new national poll conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey.

That advantage narrows to 47 percent – 46 percent among voters who are considered the most likely to vote at this time. Independent voters are split down the middle – 41 percent for Obama to 39 percent for Romney. Obama claims 85 percent support among Democrats and Romney has 84 percent of the GOP vote.

Romney’s prior ties to Bain Capital, a venture capital firm, featured heavily in the Republican nomination contest and promises to be a focus of the incumbent’s campaign strategy. This led one Obama surrogate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, to declare on national TV that he was “nauseated” by attacks on the industry.

About two-thirds of voters have heard about venture capital or private equity firms. The Monmouth University Poll finds that 42 percent of American voters familiar with the industry feel these firms are good for the nation’s economy compared to just 22 percent who say they are bad. Another 16 percent say they have no economic impact and 20 percent have no opinion.

In the area of jobs – which has been the major thrust of attacks on Romney’s Bain connection – 36 percent say these firms tend to create jobs compared to 21 percent who say they eliminate jobs. Another 22 percent say they have no impact on jobs and 21 percent have no opinion.

“For most American voters, venture capital is not a dirty word. That means the Obama campaign has to walk a fine line between attacking Romney’s individual record and impugning an industry which many voters view positively,” said Patrick Murray, director of the New Jersey-based Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll also asked voters for their overall personal opinion of the two candidates. Neither has a stellar rating. Pres. Obama clocks in at 43 percent favorable to 40 percent unfavorable, while Gov. Romney registers an even split at 34 percent favorable to 34 percent unfavorable.

When asked which party they would like to see in control of Congress next year, voter preferences are evenly divided between Democrats (36 percent) and Republicans (35 percent). Another 27 percent of U.S. voters say it makes no difference who controls Congress next year.

The latest Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 1,395 registered voters from June 4 to 6. This sample has a margin of error of + 2.6 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

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