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Mixed Views on Three Key Issues Mark Obama’s Campaign Challenges

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Americans give President Obama mixed marks on three prominent issues he’s touted in his bid for re-election in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with no scores above 50 percent on either the auto industry bailout, greater regulation of financial institutions or -- most basic -- the administration’s economic stimulus program.

Middling ratings on each of these denote some of the president’s challenges in the campaign now officially under way.  While he’s substantially more popular personally than the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, Obama is vulnerable on key issues.

The poll finds that Americans divide almost exactly evenly on the administration’s economic stimulus program, with 47 percent seeing it favorably overall, 48 percent unfavorably. 

It’s a bit better for Obama on the auto industry loans, 50-43 percent, and financial industry regulation, 49-44 percent.

But none of these reaches majority favorability -- and the intensity of sentiment on the stimulus is much more strongly negative than positive.

Obama has cited his performance on these issues, among others, in making his case for re-election.  But this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds responses sharply divided by political allegiance and ideological preference.

In likely the president’s biggest risk, independents rate the economic stimulus negatively by 50-44 percent.  They’re less negative (indeed slightly positive) on the automaker loans and regulation of financial institutions, but it’s the economy that dominates voter concerns.

Political independents are the key swing voters in national elections, and at 41 percent of the population, they outnumber Democrats and Republicans alike in this survey, 33 and 23 percent, respectively.

Among partisans, anywhere from 66 to 74 percent of Democrats and liberals have positive views of Obama’s work on these issues, compared with a paltry 16 to 26 percent of Republicans and 24 to 35 percent of conservatives.  Moderates are more positive than negative on all three, but again most closely on the economic stimulus.

As noted, intensity of sentiment on the stimulus is against the president: Among all Americans, many more rate the economic stimulus strongly unfavorably, 31 percent, as strongly favorably, 18 percent.  It’s a similar 31 vs. 15 percent among independents.  Strong sentiment on the automaker loans and financial industry regulations is more evenly divided.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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