New poll has Obama ahead of GOP opponents by double digits, could be higher

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A new poll shows President Obama holding a double-digit lead against the Republican frontrunners. Other responses from the survey reveal voter frustration with the GOP primary contest, giving the president an advantage. Furthermore, disproportionate demographics of participants in the poll could possibly signal higher support for Obama.

The Suffolk University Political Research Center poll was released Monday and was conducted with more than 1,000 participants between March 21st and 25th. It shows President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 47 percent to 37 percent, and Rick Santorum 49 percent to 37 percent. There is a 3 percent margin of error. Other polls, including one also released Monday by Rasmussen, have Obama leading Romney but still in the single digits — somewhere between 3 and 5 percent.

WATCH REV. AL SHARPTON DISCUSS THE NEW POLL ON ‘POLITICS NATION’:
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Those polled illuminated interesting information about the current political landscape. Seventy-three percent of those polled believed that voters should have to present identification to vote. Most, 51 percent, thought Barack Obama would win re-election, regardless of their party affiliation. Twenty-eight percent believe Mitt Romney will win and 5 percent called it for Rick Santorum. A large number, 43 percent, said they are less likely to support a Republican candidate in the general election after the primary process.

The president’s job approval rating is at 46 percent, according to the Suffolk survey. He also holds a 15 percent lead in favorability over Romney, with 52 percent reporting a favorable view of the president.

“The Republican primary race is taking its toll on Mitt Romney and the GOP,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, echoing Sharpton’s assessment. “The Republican Primary process has been so divisive that frustrated voters are saying that they would rather vote for a third-party candidate than one of the Republicans, which clearly benefits President Obama. Romney’s unfavorables have shot up over the past year, while Obama’s core numbers have held in the mid-high forties.”

Black voters however were under-represented in Suffolk’s poll. In the 2008 election, 12.1 percent of Election Day voters were black. The Suffolk poll’s sample was only 8 percent African-American, a representation of black voters that would have meant an estimated 5,240,000 fewer black votes in 2008 — most of which went to Obama.

The poll also had an under-representation of voters aged 18-29, by nearly 6 points based on their turnout in 2008. These young voters were also critical in the president’s election, with 66 percent supporting Obama.

“I’m not sure we should model that the exact same proportions in this election will mirror young and African-American intensity from 2008,” said Paleologos via email. “It appears there is perhaps slightly different voter intensity at this snapshot in time.”

He added that a similar poll was conducted by Suffolk in 2008 comparing Obama to McCain, resulting in a 6-point lead for Obama. The president went on to win by 7 percent on Election Day.

Follow Donovan X. Ramsey on Twitter at @idxr

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