A new poll shows that a majority of voters in 12 key U.S. swing states feel they are worse off than they were four years ago, yet still support President Barack Obama over his presumptive Republican rival, Mitt Romney.
The results of the survey, conducted jointly by the USA Today newspaper and the Gallup polling agency, were published Monday. They show that when respondents were asked “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” those in the swing states (competitive states most likely to swing the Electoral College in the November 6 presidential election) answered “no” by 56-42 percent. Voters polled in all 50 states answered “no” by 55-42 percent.
Forty-four percent of the respondents in the swing states described the condition of the U.S. economy as “only fair,” 41 percent called it poor and just 14 percent called it good. Seven out of ten respondents in the swing states and 72 percent nationwide said they are unhappy with the way things are going in the country, with just 28 percent in the swing states and 26 nationwide saying they are satisfied.
Still, the poll found that President Obama leads Romney in the swing states, 47-44 percent, while Romney leads in the non-battleground states, 47-45 percent.
The 12 swing states surveyed are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
On Sunday, the two campaigns continued to debate various contentious issues, including Romney’s tax returns. Last week, the Romney’s campaign rejected the Obama campaign’s call for Romney to release five years of tax returns.
In January, Romney released his full tax returns for 2010 and a summary of the taxes he paid in 2011.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs defended the call and said it was a relevant issue.
“Look, Mitt Romney is a highly educated man and he has clearly made a decision that what is in those tax returns is far more damaging to him than to do what every presidential candidate has done which is show the American people your personal finances,” he said.
Romney senior campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie responded by questioning why tax disclosures were not an issue during Obama’s first presidential race.
“It was not an issue in 2008 because President Obama was not trying to distract from a four-year-long record of failed policies,” said Gillespie.
Obama released eight years of tax returns when running for office in 2008.
Gillespie indicated Romney would make public his 2011 tax return by mid-October.