WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has opened up a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney in a national poll released Wednesday, even as a majority of respondents say the country is on the wrong track.
Most surveys in recent weeks suggest a tight race for the White House culminating in the November election, but the new Bloomberg National Poll has Obama leading his Republican challenger 53-40 percent among likely voters.
And while the public gives the incumbent low marks on handling the economy, they prefer Obama’s vision over Romney’s for building on the recovery, despite a wave of poor economic data that has emerged in the past month.
Respondents to the June 15-18 poll say they prefer Obama’s vision over Romney’s by 49-33 percent, up seven points since March, when the Republican nominee had yet to be decided.
The two campaigns have hammered each other on who would do better at boosting job growth and improving economic conditions overall.
Romney argues that Obama is in over his head, while the Obama re-election campaign paints Romney, a multimillionaire ex-businessman and investor, as a former corporate raider bent on improving conditions for the wealthy.
The poll shows Romney still has a way to go to repair the damage done to his campaign during the brutal Republican primary. Thirty-nine percent of Americans view him favorably, while 48 percent see him unfavorably.
And 55 percent believe he is more out of touch with average Americans, versus 36 percent who say the president is more out of touch.
The poll also had 45 percent of Americans saying they are better off now than in 2009, compared with 36 percent who say they are worse off.
That marks a significant change from March, when the figures were about equal.
Respondents said their homes were worth more today, they were dining out more and taking more vacations.
That bodes well for Obama four and a half months out from the election, but the poll was not all good news.
Sixty-two percent said the nation was on the wrong track, twice as many as who said it was on the right track.
And 45 percent said they felt their children would have a lower standard of living than their own, compared with 28 percent who said their children’s standard of living would be higher.
A key question is whether or not the Bloomberg survey, which has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, is an outlier.
Several polls suggest Obama and Romney are running neck and neck, with two recent surveys showing Romney with a slim nationwide lead.
An average by website RealClearPolitics has Obama ahead by 2.2 percentage points.