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Decision 2012

Poll: Voters tepid on Romney's business background

Poll: Voters tepid on Romney's business background

POSTED: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 5:14am

A poll of battleground state voters released Tuesday showed Mitt Romney struggling to turn his business background into an asset for his campaign, with more respondents saying they had a negative view rather than a positive view of the presumptive GOP nominee's time as a private equity executive.

The survey from NBC News/Wall Street Journal showed 33% of voters in 12 battleground states saying what they had read or heard about Romney's business background negatively influenced their view of the candidate, compared with 18% who said the information led them to view Romney more positively. The remainder either felt they didn't have enough information about Romney's private equity career or that the information didn't make a difference.

The battleground states included in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

President Barack Obama's campaign, eager to discredit his Republican rival's business credentials, has used attack ads in some of those states to paint Romney as a corporate raider who eliminated jobs and closed plants during his tenure as chief executive of Bain Capital. Romney's campaign argues the Obama attacks don't take into account Bain's successes.

Those attack ads might be having an effect on Romney's favorability rating in the swing states. Some 30% of the battleground-state voters said they viewed Romney favorably in the poll, compared to 36% who viewed him favorably one month ago.

Nationally, Romney's favorability hasn't taken such a hit. He holds a 33% favorably rating nationally, compared with 34% last month.

Overall, Obama holds a slight advantage over Romney nationally, with 47% of registered voters saying they back the incumbent Democrat and 44% backing his Republican rival. The 3-point margin was within the poll's sampling error.

In the battleground states, however, Obama's lead widened to eight points, besting Romney 50% -42%.

Obama's edge nationally was bolstered by strong leads among women, minorities and independents. The president led Romney 52%-39% among women, 52%-35% among Latinos ages 18 to 29 and 40%-36% among independents.

Romney was ahead among white voters, 53%-38%, and men, 48%-43%.

The economy, which voters consistently rate the most important issue, remains a problem for Obama. Some 53% say they disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy, and 33% say Obama's policies have hurt the economy. Another 32% say the president's economic policies haven't made any difference, and 32% say they've helped.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted by telephone from 1,000 voters between June 20-24. The sampling error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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