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US voters bitter after negative campaign: poll

26 july 2012, 10:27
0
Supporters watch as US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event. ©AFP
Supporters watch as US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event. ©AFP
The recent run of negative ads in the US presidential race may be backfiring on both President Barack Obama and his Republican adversary Mitt Romney, AFP reports according to a new poll Tuesday.

Four in ten voters have a negative opinion of former Massachusetts governor Romney, according to the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey -- only slightly fewer than the 43 percent who view President Obama negatively.

According to Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democrat Peter Hart, it is unprecedented "in the modern era" to "have two candidates who are in deep, double-digit negatives."

With unemployment seemingly stuck above eight percent, the poll also highlights American voters' concern over the future of their country: 60 percent say the US is "on the wrong track," up from 58 percent in May. Just 32 percent say the country is going "in the right direction."

Voters seem to think Romney is better equipped to fix the country's economic woes: when asked, 46 percent of those polled chose him, compared to 36 percent for Obama on the issue.

However, the incumbent is doing better than his opponent on foreign policy, health, the situation in Afghanistan, taxes and immigration.

Overall, the survey shows Obama beating Romney, 49 percent to 43 percent, if the November 6 vote were to be held today. That number holds up, even taking into account the margin of error of plus or minus three points.

Since May, when Romney was first assured his status as the Republican party nominee, both campaign teams have gone head to head in negative television ads.

One of the most recent ads, from the Democratic side, accused Romney of having links to companies that chose to lay off US-based workers and move those jobs to plants in Mexico and China instead.

In the ad, you can hear the Republican singing -- very off-key -- "America the beautiful."

Meanwhile Romney, a multimillionaire former businessman and investor, has lashed out against Obama on business, saying his economic philosophy is "foreign to the American experience."

Obama quickly fired back, accusing Romney of "knowingly twisting my words around" and editing them out of context.

The NBC/WSJ poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters July 18-22, and has an overall plus-minus 3.1 percentage points margin of error.

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