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					                                                               CBS News/New York Times Poll
                                                                  For release: March 12, 2012
                                                                                  6:30 PM ET




                 The November Election, The President, and the Economy
                                   March 7-11, 2012

   •   Rising gas prices may be weighing on President Obama’s approval ratings: after topping
       off at 50% approval just last month, his rating has dipped to 41% today, the lowest of his
       presidency. 47% now disapprove.

   •   As has historically been the case, a majority of Americans (54%) believes a President
       can do a lot to control gas prices.

   •   In November matchups, President Obama maintains his lead among registered voters
       over all would-be Republican challengers - by three points over Mitt Romney and four
       over Rick Santorum – but those gaps have narrowed, coinciding with the dip in Obama’s
       approval.

   •   Part of Barack Obama’s advantage in those head-to-heads is being seen as
       understanding peoples’ needs and problems. 55% of registered voters say he does – but
       only 31% think Mitt Romney does. 40% say Rick Santorum does.

   •   Americans divide over whether the U.S. should get involved in any military conflict
       between Israel and Iran over nuclear weapons. 47% want the U.S. to support Israel in
       any action it might take; 42% don’t want to get involved.

Rising gas prices may be taking a bite out of Americans’ wallets, and perhaps a toll on
President Obama’s approval ratings. Though his approval rating reached 50% last month for the
first time since the killing of Osama bin Laden last May, it has now plunged nine points to an all-
time low of 41%.

                            President Obama’s Overall Job Rating
               Now            2/2012      12/2011       11/2011             5/2011         1/2011
Approve        41%            50%         47%           43%                 57%            49%
Disapprove     47             43          44            47                  37             39

Most Americans believe gas prices are something a President can do a lot about – 54% say so.
Whether correct or not, Americans have historically felt this way about a President’s control over
gas prices. They also felt this way when gas prices spiked during the administration of former
President George W. Bush.

                     Are Gas Prices Something a President Can do a lot About?
               Now           2/2012      3/2011        7/2008        5/2006                5/2004
Yes            54%           54%         50%           65%           63%                   58%
No             36            34          41            29            30                    33
Continued attacks from the Republicans running to replace President Obama may be having an
impact, too. His disapproval rating has risen to 89% among Republicans (from 82% last month),
and now more independents disapprove of his job performance than approve – that was not the
case last month. And though his approval rating among Democrats remains high, it has
dropped seven points – from 85% last month to 78% today.

                          President Obama’s Overall Job Rating
                                  Total       Reps Dems Inds
               Approve            41%          5% 78% 37%
               Disapprove         47          89      15     45

President Obama’s job rating on the economy remains about the same as it was last month -
39% approve and 54% disapprove – but his rating on foreign policy has dropped significantly.
Now, just 40% approve of his handling of foreign policy – a drop of 10 points from last month –
while 41% disapprove. This is the first time since the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011
that more Americans disapprove than approve of the job Barack Obama is doing handling
foreign policy.

                              President Obama’s Job Ratings
                                   Foreign Policy     The Economy
                                   Now 2/2012         Now 2/2012
                      Approve      40% 50%            39% 44%
                      Disapprove 41       36          54    50


Looking Ahead to November

Barack Obama maintains his lead over all the Republican hopefuls in hypothetical general
election matchups, but the gap has narrowed -- reflective, perhaps, of the President’s drop in
approval ratings this week.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum run closest to the incumbent President, three and four points
back, respectively. The President maintains a commanding lead if the Republican nominee
were Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul.

             Who Would You Vote For in November if the Candidates Were…?
                              (Among registered voters)
                                Now           2/13/2012    1/18/2012
       Barack Obama             47%           48%          45%
       Mitt Romney              44            42           45

       Barack Obama                  48%            49%            49%
       Rick Santorum                 44             41             38

       Barack Obama                  49             50%            46%
       Ron Paul                      39             39             42

       Barack Obama                  52             54%            50%
       Newt Gingrich                 38             36             39
Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have all improved their standings with
independents compared to last month – with Romney making the most gains. Ron Paul’s
standing among independents has dropped slightly.

             Who Would You Vote For in November if the Candidates Were…?
                             (Among independent voters)
                                Now          2/13/2012     1/18/2012
       Barack Obama             45%          46%           38%
       Mitt Romney              43           37            46

       Barack Obama                  45%           46%            45%
       Rick Santorum                 42            39             36

       Barack Obama                  46%           44%            39%
       Ron Paul                      36            40             49

       Barack Obama                  50%           51%            46%
       Newt Gingrich                 35            32             38

In 2008, Barack Obama won the women’s vote, as Democrats often do in Presidential elections.
(He won the men’s vote too.) So far this year there has been a lot of focus on issues of concern
to women. Now, Barack Obama has a lead against all Republican challengers among women
voters. Among men, both Romney and Santorum have wide leads over the President.

       Gender Gap: Who Would You Vote For in November if Candidates Were…?
                            (Among registered voters)
                                    Women          Men
            Barack Obama            50%            44%
            Mitt Romney             39             50

              Barack Obama                  50%            45%
              Rick Santorum                 40             50

              Barack Obama                  49%            49%
              Ron Paul                      38             40

              Barack Obama                  54%            51%
              Newt Gingrich                 34             43


Views of the Candidates

Opinions of the candidates – including President Obama – are mixed. An equal percentage of
voters have a favorable opinion of Barack Obama as an unfavorable one. The same is true for
Rick Santorum, though more than a third hasn’t formed an opinion yet. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul,
and Newt Gingrich all have net unfavorable ratings. Views have changed little since last month.
                            Views of the Presidential Candidates
                                  (Among registered voters)
                             Favorable     Not favorable       Don’t Know/Haven’t heard
Barack Obama                 41%           41                  17

Rick Santorum                32%            32                    35
Mitt Romney                  30%            37                    31
Ron Paul                     23%            33                    43
Newt Gingrich                18%            51                    31

Women voters have a more favorable view of Obama (44%) than men do (38%) but this is
reversed for all the Republican candidates, each of whom get more favorable views from men
than women. Only 28% of women have a favorable view of Mitt Romney, compared to 33% of
men; Santorum gets 31% favorable from women and 32% from men.

Obama's personal favorability ratings are even among independents (37% favorable and 37%
unfavorable) but Romney and Santorum are net negative with independents: Each of them gets
27% favorable ratings and 34% unfavorable from independents.

Barack Obama has a clear advantage among registered voters on his perceived ability to
understand voters’ needs and problems. 55% think he does, including 86% of Democrats and
over half of independents (most Republicans think he does not.)

Among the Republican candidates, Ron Paul fares best on this measure. Mitt Romney fares
the worst: Six in 10 registered voters do not think he understands their problems, including
more than a third of Republicans.

                    Do They Understand Your Needs and Problems?
                              (Among registered voters)
                                       Yes           No
              Barack Obama             55%           42

              Ron Paul                      43%           38
              Rick Santorum                 40%           44
              Newt Gingrich                 33%           57
              Mitt Romney                   31%           59


Iran

Americans are split on President Obama’s handling of the situation in Iran: 42% approve while
nearly as many – 39% - disapprove, and 19% don’t know. Most Republicans disapprove and
most Democrats approve, while independents are divided.

                         President Obama’s Job Rating on Iran
                                 Total       Reps Dems Inds
              Approve            42%         15% 63% 42%
              Disapprove         39          65     20      36
              Don’t know         19          20     17      22
There has been speculation that Israel might be considering an attack on Iran to try to stop its
nuclear weapons program. If Israel did so, Americans by a slim margin say the U.S. should
support that military effort. Partisans divide on this, though: Republicans overwhelming would
want the U.S. to be involved, but Democrats and independents would not.

                         If Israel Attacks Iran, What Should U.S. Do?
                                              All   Reps Dems Inds
               Support Israel                 47% 72% 38% 39%
               Not get involved               42    22    55     44

In general, more Americans favor than oppose the idea of the U.S. taking military action against
Iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon. There are also partisan divides on this, too
-- Republicans are strongly in favor, and Democrats are mainly opposed.

                      Favor or Oppose U.S. Military Action Against Iran
                            to Prevent Nuclear Weapons?
                                   All   Reps Dems Inds
               Support             51% 66% 40% 51%
               Oppose              36    24      50     34
               Unsure              13    10      10     15


The Economy

The economy and jobs remains the most important problem facing the country today,
volunteered by 51% of Americans. Three in four Americans think the economy is at least
somewhat bad – including 30% who say it is very bad.

                                  Condition of the Economy
                                           Now          2/2012
                      Very good             1%           1%
                      Fairly good          21           22
                      Fairly bad           45           46
                      Very bad             30           29

The percentage that says the economy is getting better has declined slightly from last month,
though more still think it is getting better than getting worse. 30% of Americans think the
economy is getting better, while 24% think it is getting worse, and 44% think it is staying about
the same.

                                  Direction of the Economy
                                           Now          2/2012
                      Getting better       30%          34%
                      Getting worse        24           22
                      The same             44           43
Just 20% of Americans feel their family’s financial situation is better today than it was four years
ago. 37% say it is worse, and 43% say it is about the same.

                             Family’s Financial Situation Vs. Four Years Ago
                                       Better today         20%
                                       Worse today          37
                                       About the same       43


Coverage of Birth Control

The poll asked Americans to weigh in on whether the government should mandate coverage of
birth control by employers. 51% think there should be an exception for all employers if they have
moral or religious objections – 40% think there should not. The number that supports allowing
employers to opt out rises to 57% for institutions that have a specific religious affiliation, such as
a school or a hospital.


                            Employers and Birth Control Coverage
                                   All Employers        Religiously Affiliated Employers
        Should have to cover              40%                  36%
        Allowed to opt out for
        religious/moral reasons           51                   57

But when it comes to how they view the issue, a slight majority of 51% of Americans think this
issue is more about women’s health and their rights, while just 37% think it is more about
religious freedoms. Which side of the debate one is on affects how one sees the issue: a slight
majority of those who think employers should be able to opt out for religious or moral issues see
the issue more in terms of religious freedoms, while three in four who think coverage should be
mandatory see the issue as about women’s health and rights.

                   Is the Birth Control Coverage Issue More About…?
                            All                 All Employers Should…
                            Respondents         Cover birth control Be allowed to opt out
Religious freedoms          37%                 18%                 53%
Women’s health and rights 51                    76                  32
_________________________________________________________________________
This poll was conducted by telephone from March 7-11, 2012 among 1009 adults nationwide.
878 interviews were conducted with registered voters, including 301 with voters who said they plan to
vote in a Republican primary. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and
cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus
three percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters could be plus or minus
three points and six points for the sample of Republican primary voters. The error for subgroups may be
higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
CBS NEWS/NEW YORK TIMES POLL
The November Election, the President and the Economy
March 7-11, 2012

q1 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?

                                ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS **
                                      *** Party ID ***
                            Total    Rep    Dem     Ind                Feb12a
                              %       %      %       %                  %
Approve                      41       5     78      37                 50
Disapprove                   47      89     15      45                 43
DK/NA                        12       6      7      18                  7

q2 Do you feel things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do
you feel things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?

Right direction              29       6     56         25               35
Wrong track                  63      91     41         63               59
DK/NA                         8       3      3         12                6

q3-4 SEPARATE RELEASE

q5 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling foreign policy?

Approve                      40       9     66         40               50
Disapprove                   41      76     17         37               36
DK/NA                        19      15     17         23               14

q6 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy?

Approve                      39       8     72         36               44
Disapprove                   54      87     24         55               50
DK/NA                         7       5      4          9                6

q7 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation with
Iran?

Approve                      42      15     63         42
Disapprove                   39      65     20         36
DK/NA                        19      20     17         22

q8-9 BLANK

q10 How would you rate the condition of the national economy these days? Is it very good,
fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

Very good                     1       0      2          1                1
Fairly good                  21       8     36         20               22
Fairly bad                   45      52     41         43               46
Very bad                     30      39     20         33               29
DK/NA                         3       1      1          3                2
q11 Do you think the economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?

                                ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS **
                                      *** Party ID ***
                            Total    Rep    Dem     Ind                Feb12a
                              %       %      %       %                  %
Better                       30       9     48      30                 34
Worse                        24      33     17      23                 22
Same                         44      56     33      45                 43
DK/NA                         2       2      2       2                  1

q13-19 SEPARATE RELEASE

q20 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were
Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Newt Gingrich, the Republican, would you vote for Barack
Obama or Newt Gingrich?

                                  ** REGISTERED VOTERS **
Obama                        52         15     90      50               54
Gingrich                     38         75      7      35               36
Other (Vol.)                  0          1      0       0                5
Won't vote (Vol.)             4          6      1       5                1
Depends (Vol.)                1          2      0       1                4
Don't know/No answer          5          1      2       9                0

q21 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were
Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Ron Paul, the Republican, would you vote for Barack Obama
or Ron Paul?

Obama                        49        11     87      46                50
Paul                         39        74      9      36                39
Other (Vol.)                  0         1      0       0                 0
Won't vote (Vol.)             3         4      1       5                 4
Depends (Vol.)                2         3      0       2                 1
Don't know/No answer          7         7      3      11                 6

q22 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were
Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Mitt Romney, the Republican, would you vote for Barack
Obama or Mitt Romney?

Obama                        47         4     88      45                48
Romney                       44        84      8      43                42
Other (Vol.)                  1         1      0       0                 0
Won't vote (Vol.)             2         4      1       2                 4
Depends (Vol.)                1         2      0       2                 1
Don't know/No answer          5         5      3       8                 5

q23 If the 2012 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were
Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Rick Santorum, the Republican, would you vote for Barack
Obama or Rick Santorum?

Obama                        48         4     90      45                49
Santorum                     44        88      8      42                41
Other (Vol.)                  1         2      0       0                 0
Won't vote (Vol.)             1         1      1       2                 2
Depends (Vol.)                1         1      0       2                 0
Don't know/No answer          5         4      1       9                 8
q24 Is your opinion of Barack Obama favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you
heard enough about Barack Obama yet to have an opinion?

                             ** REGISTERED VOTERS **
                                      *** Party ID ***
                            Total    Rep    Dem     Ind                Feb12a
                              %       %      %       %                  %
Favorable                    41       7     76      37                 45
Not favorable                41      80     10      37                 41
Undecided                    14       9     11      21                 11
Haven't heard enough          3       4      2       2                  2
Refused                       1       0      1       3                  1

q25 Is your opinion of Newt Gingrich favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you
heard enough about Newt Gingrich yet to have an opinion?

Favorable                    18      32      7      17                  16
Not favorable                51      32     66      53                  54
Undecided                    19      26     13      18                  16
Haven't heard enough         12      10     14      11                  13
Refused                       0       0      0       1                   1

q26 Is your opinion of Ron Paul favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard
enough about Ron Paul yet to have an opinion?

Favorable                    23      24     18      27                  24
Not favorable                33      31     38      29                  33
Undecided                    19      22     17      18                  21
Haven't heard enough         24      22     26      25                  21
Refused                       1       1      1       1                   1

q27 Is your opinion of Mitt Romney favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you
heard enough about Mitt Romney yet to have an opinion?

Favorable                    30      52     13      27                  26
Not favorable                37      15     61      34                  40
Undecided                    20      24     11      26                  20
Haven't heard enough         11       9     13      12                  13
Refused                       2       0      2       1                   1

q28 Is your opinion of Rick Santorum favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you
heard enough about Rick Santorum yet to have an opinion?

Favorable                    32      59     11      27                  27
Not favorable                32       7     54      34                  25
Undecided                    16      17     10      21                  15
Haven't heard enough         19      17     24      17                  33
Refused                       1       0      1       1                   0

q29-38 SEPARATE RELEASE
q39 Do you think Barack Obama does or does not understand the needs and problems of
people like yourself?

                                ** REGISTERED VOTERS **
                                       *** Party ID ***
                            Total     Rep    Dem     Ind               Feb12a
                              %        %      %       %                 %
Yes                          55       24     86      52                54
No                           42       71     13      43                42
DK/NA                         3        5      1       5                 4

q40 BLANK

q41 How confident are you in Barak Obama's ability to make the right decisions about the
economy - are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all
confident?

                                                                        Feb09b
Very confident               18       0     41      11                  29
Somewhat confident           31       7     46      36                  44
Not too confident            21      31      7      25                  16
Not at all confident         30      60      5      26                  10
DK/NA                         0       2      1       2                   1

q42 How confident are you in Barak Obama's ability to make the right decisions about
health care - are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at
all confident?

                                                                        Oct08d
Very confident               21       0     45      17                  36
Somewhat confident           23       5     36      27                  33
Not too confident            16      17     12      19                  13
Not at all confident         38      75      7      36                  16
DK/NA                         2       3      0       1                   2

q43 How confident are you in Barack Obama’s ability to be an effective commander-in-chief
of the nation’s military – are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident,
or not at all confident?

Very confident               30       3     57      28
Somewhat confident           28      20     31      32
Not too confident            16      27      7      16
Not at all confident         25      49      5      24
DK/NA                         1       1      0       0

q44 BLANK

q45 Do you think Newt Gingrich does or does not understand the needs and problems of
people like yourself?

                                                                        Feb12a
Yes                          33      55     16      29                  30
No                           57      34     75      60                  58
DK/NA                        10      11      9      11                  12

q47-Q51 SEPARATE RELEASE
q52 Do you think Ron Paul does or does not understand the needs and problems of people
like yourself?

                             ** REGISTERED VOTERS **
                                      *** Party ID ***
                            Total    Rep    Dem     Ind                Feb12a
                              %       %      %       %                  %
Yes                          43      55     31      45                 47
No                           38      31     48      35                 33
DK/NA                        19      14     21      20                 20

q53-Q58 SEPARATE RELEASE

q59 Do you think Mitt Romney does or does not understand the needs and problems of people
like yourself?

Yes                          31      54     13      29                  31
No                           59      38     80      59                  58
DK/NA                        10       8      7      12                  11

q60-q65 SEPARATE RELEASE

q66 Do you think Rick Santorum does or does not understand the needs and problems of
people like yourself?

Yes                          40      71     15      36                  37
No                           44      17     71      41                  37
DK/NA                        16      12     14      23                  26

q67-q72 SEPARATE RELEASE

q73 Do you think health insurance plans for all employers should have to cover the full
cost of birth control for their female employees, or should employers be allowed to opt
out of covering that based on religious or moral objections?

                                ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS **
                                      *** Party ID ***
                            Total    Rep    Dem     Ind
                              %       %      %       %
Cover birth control          40      19     59      41
Allowed to opt out           51      75     32      50
Depends (Vol.)                3       2      4       4
Don't know/No answer          6       4      5       5

q74 What about for religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university?
Do you think their health insurance plans should have to cover the full costs of birth
control for their female employees, or should they be allowed to opt out of covering that
based on religious or moral objections?

Cover birth control          36      18     53      35
Allowed to opt out           57      78     38      57
Depends (Vol.)                2       0      4       2
DK/NA                         5       4      5       6

q75 BLANK
q76 Do you think this issue is more about religious freedom or more about women's health
and their rights?

                                ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS **
                                      *** Party ID ***
                            Total    Rep    Dem     Ind
                              %       %      %       %
Religious freedom            37      55     23      36
Women's health/rights        51      30     72      49
Both (vol)                    6       6      2       8
DK/NA                         6       9      3       7

q77 Is the price of gasoline something a president can do a lot about, or is that beyond
any president's control?

                                ** PARTIAL RESPONDENTS **
Yes, can do a lot               54      69     42      53
No, beyond president's con      36      22     46      38
DK/NA                           10       9     12       9
*Asked only between 3/10-3/11   among 595 respondents.

q78 BLANK

q79 Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran in
order to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapons program?

                                      ** TOTAL RESPONDENTS **
Support                         51         66     40      51
Oppose                          36         24     50      34
Don't know/No answer            13         10     10      15

q80 What should the U.S. do if Israel were to attack Iran in order to prevent it from
developing a nuclear weapons program? Should the U.S. support Israel’s military action,
or should the U.S. not get involved?

Support                         47        72     38         39
Not get involved                42        22     55         44
Oppose (Vol.)                    1         0      1          1
Don't know/Refused              10         6      6         16

q81-q85 HELD FOR RELEASE

q86 Compared to four years ago, is your family's financial situation better today, worse
today, or about the same?

Better today                    20        14     22         21
Worse today                     37        42     34         35
About the same                  43        42     43         44
Don't know/No answer             0         2      1          0


                                UNWEIGHTED            WEIGHTED
Total Respondents               1009

Total Republicans               284                   263
Total Democrats                 329                   304
Total Independents              396                   442

				
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