News Release

Reason-Rupe Poll: President Obama Leads Romney by Six, and He’s Ahead of Paul, Santorum by 10

Romney leads Santorum 39-26 in GOP primary and poll examines what Hillary Clinton's impact would be as VP

President Barack Obama leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 46 percent to 40 percent in the latest national Reason-Rupe poll of 1,200 adults.

Rep. Ron Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum both trail Obama by 10 points, 47 percent to 37 percent. However, Paul performs better than Romney and Santorum among independents, trailing Obama 45-40.

In a hypothetical three-way presidential race with Paul running as an independent candidate, Obama’s support drops to 41 percent, but he still easily tops Romney’s 30 percent and Paul’s 17 percent.

In another three-way race, Obama beats Santorum 42 percent to 27 percent, with Paul getting 18 percent of the vote as an independent.

It’s been suggested that President Obama could energize voters by replacing Vice President Joe Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Twenty-nine percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents say they’d be more likely to vote for Obama if Clinton was the vice presidential candidate. Overall, with Clinton on the ticket, 19 percent of Americans say they’d be more likely to vote for Obama, 12 percent would be less likely, and 66 percent say it would make no difference in how they vote.

Among Republican primary voters, Romney leads Santorum 39 percent to 26 percent. Ron Paul collects 12 percent of GOP support and Newt Gingrich gets 10 percent.

Reason-Rupe finds 48 percent of Americans approve, and 46 percent disapprove, of the overall job President Obama is doing. However, only 44 percent approve, and 53 percent disapprove, of how the president is handling the economy.

A meager 15 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing, while 78 percent disapprove.

Full Poll Online

The complete Reason-Rupe survey is online at and here

This Reason-Rupe poll, conducted March 10-20, 2012, surveyed a random, national sample of 1,200 adults by telephone (704 on landlines, 496 on cell phones). The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The Republican presidential primary question surveyed 468 Republican and Republican-leaners. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted for Reason Foundation by NSON Opinion Strategy.

This is the latest in a series of Reason-Rupe public opinion surveys dedicated to exploring what Americans really think about government and major issues. This Reason Foundation project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.


Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109